Employees at existing Hyderabad airport begin strike

March 12th, 2008 - 10:23 am ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, March 12 (IANS) All employees of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the Begumpet airport here have joined the nationwide strike to press their demand for continuing operations at the existing airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore. At the stroke of midnight Tuesday, the AAI employees struck work. AAI employees’ union leader V.S. Gupta claimed that all 270 employees were taking part in the indefinite strike.

AAI officials said they had made alternate arrangements to ensure that the air traffic is not affected by the strike.

The airport at Begumpet in the heart of the city is to be closed down once the new international airport at Shamshabad becomes operational March 16.

The employees are boycotting their ground handling and emergency duties to demand that the central government pull out of an agreement with the GMR-led consortium, which stipulates that the existing airport will be shut down once the airport at Shamshabad, about 35 km from Begumpet, becomes functional.

The union is also claiming the support of about 400 casual employees at the airport, which handles movement of over 250 flights every day.

“Our fight is not just for our jobs. It is for the airport, which is making a profit of Rs.2.50 billion every year. Why should it not continue its operations?” asked Gupta.

The union leaders fear that the closure of the existing airport would hit hundreds of people who depend on it for their livelihood.

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