Patel seeks report on Rajnath’s plane take-off in darkness (Lead, Changing dateline)October 20th, 2009 - 11:36 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Tuesday asked the sectoral regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to prepare a detailed report on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh’s plane taking off in darkness at Dumka in Jharkhand.
The BJP leader’s chartered plane took off from Jharkhand’s Dumka airport with only the headlights of jeeps to guide it over the dark, unlit runway Monday evening.
“Any action in this matter will be taken only after receiving the report,” the minister said.
He asked the VIPs to refrain from taking risks and also cautioned the pilots to strictly follow the safety norms.
Rajnath Singh, who was in Jharkhand for a one-day visit, landed at Dumka airport Monday afternoon and drove to Godda district, BJP sources said.
Dumka airport has no runway lighting and the pilot told Rajnath Singh that he should return before 5 p.m. for a safe take-off, a party leader told IANS. But the BJP president was late and reached Dumka only after sunset around 6.15 p.m.
When the pilot cited bad light and said he could not take off, BJP workers brought five jeeps near the runway.
“Dumka does not come under the jurisdiction of the Ranchi ATC (air traffic control). Dumka airport comes under the jurisdiction of Kolkata ATC,” S. Haldhar, deputy general manager of the ATC at the Dumka airport, told IANS.
Ranchi ATC sources said such lights are used in special cases, but this was a clear violation of DGCA guidelines.
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