Airport on strike from midnight; IAF on alert

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New Delhi, Mar 11: The Indian Air Force has been put on alert following decision of airport employees to go on strike from midnight against government's move to privatise major airports across the country, More than 500 pilots of the IAF have been put on alert following the indefinite strike, said IAF official sources adding that 479 air force personnel have been alerted across 21 airports all over the country.

Though the impact at Delhi and Mumbai airports is likely to be less as both have already been privatised, the Delhi Government has promulgated the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here for smooth functioning of services.

A spokesman of one of the employees union said the decision to go on indefinite strike, being carried out across 127 airports, from midnight was taken after talks with the government failed yesterday.

With nearly 15,000 workers, comprising cleaning staff, handling staff and ground duty staff on strike, unions allege the move to privatise airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad would leave several without jobs.

Meanwhile, the move to close old airports and keep only private airports for civil aviation purposes also found reverberations in Parliament with Tapan Das of the CPM terming the step as a conspiracy.

He said this was against fair competition and against national interest.

A spokesman of the IAF informed that among the airports where its personnel have been put on alert include Kolkata, Lucknow, Khajuraho, Nagpur and Amritsar.

''They would take care of the emergency fire services, aircraft guidance and ground work of special planes at the airports,'' he added.


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