Paramilitary forces may be called to deal with strike: MIAL

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Mumbai, Feb 25 (UNI) Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) may seek the assistance of paramilitary forces to man emergency operations following the nationwide strike by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) employees from tonight.

MIAL Spokesperson told UNI that contingency plans are in place to meet any eventuality. ''Since most of the key functions of the airport barring emergency and housekeeping are with MIAL, the proposed strike will not have much impact on the airport operation,'' he added.

''We may even call paramilitary forces to handle the emergency operations like fire and safety,'' he said, adding, ''Housekeeping has already been outsourced to a private agency.'' Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla is holding a meeting with the Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU) in New Delhi to avert the agitation and arrive at an amicable solution.

''While most of the issues were sorted out in our meeting with the Airport Authority Management and the Board members, two major issues -- transfer of employees from the now-privatised airports to other AAI-managed airports and privatisation of the ground-handling services -- remained unresolved. These issues will be discussed in today's meeting,'' a union leader said.

The strike has been called to protest against the non-settlement of pending demands and closing down of ''profit making'' airports.

Over 14,000 employees are demanding the authorities to settle the long pending issues, which include transfer of employees and arbitrary decision of closing down the Hyderabad and the Bangalore airports in view of opening New Greenfield airports at Shamsabad (Hyderabad) and Devanhalli (Bangalore).

UNI IAS NM SB SSC1358

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