Cleaning of airports begins after strike ends

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New Delhi, Mar 14 : Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees have resumed cleaning operations at all airports across the nation after ending their indefinite non-cooperation movement on Thursday night.

AAI sources said heaps of garbage had collected during the two-day strike. They said dirty toilets were being cleaned up on priority.

Employees and volunteers of the AAI Union began clean-up operations overnight to ensure that trolleys and water supply were made available to passengers.

Though flight operations were not affected by the agitation, sanitation, ground handling and other facilities were affected at several airports across the country.

On Thursday night, the Airports Authority Employees Joint Forum accompanied by CPI(M) and CITU leaders M K Pandhe, Tapan Sen and Dipankar Mukherjee met Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel here.

The employees' representatives called off their two-day long strike after Patel assured them that the Government would seek legal opinion on whether the existing Hyderabad and Bangalore airports could remain open. He also assured them about the modernisation of 35 non-metro airports with the "full involvement" of the AAI and its employees.

The Parliamentary Committee on Aviation said that every big international city has two or more airports. With growing air traffic, cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore will soon need a second airport.

Delhi and Mumbai are also set to get second airports without the closure of existing ones.

''We have told the Government to keep the issue open, to negotiate with the international agencies without shutting the existing airports,'' said Sitaram Yechury, the Chairman of the Parliament Committee on Transport.

Meanwhile, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will inaugurate the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, about 35 kms from Hyderabad this afternoon.

ANI

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