NEW DELHI: A senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has alerted the Prime Minister’s Office to the dangerous safety conditions of major Indian airports. S Mangala, Aviation Safety, Deputy General Manager, Mumbai, has red-flagged Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai airports. The Sunday Standard had reported that Mangala had recommended the partial closure of runway of Mumbai airport citing safety in October 2016.
But civil aviation bureaucrats and other officials had put a lid on it. She had pointed out that encroachment of airspace by buildings around the airports is a ‘cancer’ spreading across Indian airports. “I am filing this report based on the documents I could get and the real condition of aviation safety could be far worse than what I have reported in this Safety Report.
There is involvement of top officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), AAI and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” says her letter to the PMO. She alleges official connivance. “The encroachment of airspace did not happen overnight and it was a systematic destruction that happened over a period with the active involvement of officials of the AAI, DGCA and the MoCA.
The main conduit for this systematic destruction is the MoCA’s Appellate Committee on Height Clearances,” she further highlighted. In her affidavit filed in Bombay High Court in response to the PIL on air safety of the Mumbai airport last year, Mangala had listed out names of 24 top officials of the MoCA, DGCA and AAI.
After alerting the government to the dangerous condition of runways at Mumbai airports, S Mangala, Aviation Safety, Deputy General Manager has written to PMO that other airports in major metros could be facing a similar danger. Her letter is unsparing in blaming officials for ignoring airport safety.
It says, “We gather an impression that officials of Mumbai airport, AAI, DGCA, Collector or other authorities are merely interested in passing on buck. Therefore, we would like to impress upon the authorities that this is a matter which cannot be taken so lightly and there is necessity to enquire into the violations and take action as permissible in law against the violators.”
When the PMO sought response on my report on air safety, no action was taken on it. Basically, the persons empowered to do the course correction are themselves involved and are culprits.”