LF urges UPA govt to solve airport strike through dialogues

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Kolkata, Mar 13 (UNI) Condemning the 'repressive' measures against the striking airport employees in the country, the ruling Left Front in West Bengal today urged the UPA Government to solve the problem through dialogue without closing down the old Bangaluru and Hyderabad airports.

''In the present situation the Civil Aviation Ministry should solve the problem through negotiations while retaining such airports,'' Left Front Chairman Biman Basu said after a meeting.

Observing that the striking employees had a justified demand, the Front meeting said no move should be taken to close down the old Bangaluru and Hyderabad airports.

''Greenfield airports are welcome. But profit making ones should not be sold out,'' Mr Basu said.

He added that invocation of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and deployment of Air Force personnel and CISF jawans at the major airports were aimed at scuttling the rightful movement of the airport employees. '' We vehemently condemn such repressive measures,'' he maintained.

However, all flights continued to operate normally with altogether 31 flights arriving and 45 departing from the airport this morning.

An Air India spokesman said ten AI's domestic flights departed from here while eight arrived from different destinations on schedule. Private airlines operators claimed that their flights were also on schedule, though arrival of a few was delayed.

Meanwhile, the worsening sanitary conditions at the terminal buildings and lounges and absence of passenger facilities were causing concern among the airport and airlines authorities.

A passenger was seriously injured yesterday as he slipped and fell into a water poodle from an overflowing bathroom and had to be admitted in the hospital.

Passengers were facing hardships with the information board, showing the status of flights, remaining out of order and no public announcement regarding flights.

A section of the domestic terminal at the airport was plunged into darkness for some time last night and some of the lights and conveyor belts continued to be non-operational this morning.

A high level meeting of top officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of security at the airport, was being held to assess the situation.

Sources said the possibility of deploying CISF personnel for cleaning up the airport premises was being considered at the meeting.


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