Flights normal, but airport stinking at Kolkata

March 13th, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by admin  


Kolkata, March 13 (IANS) Stinking toilets and litter at terminals posed a health hazard at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport here Thursday but flight services remained normal on the second day of an indefinite nationwide strike by airport employees. “Slowly the airport is turning into a gigantic stink and posing a health problem,” an airport official said.

About 14,000 Airports Authority of India (AAI) union members are striking over the scheduled closure of the existing airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The lounges were dirty, the toilets were stinking and overflowing while there was no power in many parts of the airport complex, passengers complained.

“The information boards are not working and so the passengers are clueless about the flight departures and arrivals,” said an official.

However, all flights continued to operate almost normally. A total of 31 flights arrived and 45 flights departed from the airport till a little after noon.

But even passenger trolleys for carrying baggage were missing from the airport. Most of the conveyor belts also were not operating.

A passenger was injured Wednesday as he slipped and fell down in a water poodle from an overflowing bathroom. He was taken to hospital.

A meeting of top officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of security at the airport, was held Thursday.

The CISF personnel could take up the job of cleaning too, an official hinted.

The spokespersons of Air India as well as private airlines said that most of the flights were arriving and leaving on schedule.

The striking employees in Kolkata, who are supported by West Bengal’s ruling communists principally against airport privatisation, said the strike would gather momentum.

“More and more employees are joining us now. We think the agitation will only intensify till our demands are met,” said a leader of Airports Authority Employees’ Union (AAEU), a body affiliated with the Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU), the trade union arm of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

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