Civil Aviation Ministry to campaign against misreporting

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) Taking strong exception to the ''misreporting about near misses by aircraft in the Indian skies'', Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today said his Ministry would launch a campaign to educate the people about the reality and the safety and security being maintained in the skies.

Mr Patel gave the assurance after members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry criticised the ''irresponsible reporting about the sector in the media'', an official release here said.

The members also protested against the 'night curfew' imposed by a number of European nations, which leads to inconvenience for passengers travelling from other countries, as well as operational problems of airlines connecting to those countries. They asked the Ministry to take up the issues with the authorities concerned.

A presentation of Pawan Hans Helicopters was made to the members, highlighting its performance, initiatives, and business opportunities.

Pawan Hans, which currently has 35 helicopters, plans to acquire 20 more at a cost of Rs 496 crores in 2007-08. It requires at least 100 more helicopters to meet the emerging business opportunities.

Emphasising the potential of helicopter services in India, the members said Pawan Hans should acquire more helicopters at the earliest.

Cutting across party lines, the members also called for a re-look at the existing Airport Policy to allow for multiple airports at metropolitan cities.

Responding to their concerns, Mr Patel said a group consisting of the Finance Minister, the Civil Aviation Minister, and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission had been set up to see how to take this process further.

He assured the members that a new Policy for Airport would be in place in the first half of 2008.

Among the other issues discussed were more connectivity to different parts of the country on-time and reliability factor of airlines.

The MPs who participated in the meeting were Mr Rahul Gandhi, Mr Madhu Goud Yashki, Mr Santosh Gangwar, Mr Ratilal K Verma, Mr Ramswaroop Koli, Mr Deepender Singh Hooda, Mr Santosh Bagrodia, Dr M S Gill, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Mr Abdul Wahab Peevee, Mr Vijay Darda and Mr Rajeev Shukla.

UNI

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