AAI workers strike work; no flight disruptions yet

New Delhi, Jan 31 | Updated: Feb 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
Airport Authority of India (AAI) employees on Tuesday protested the governments airports privatisation bid, with some sections striking work in Mumbai and Kolkata. However, there were no reports of any strike in Delhi or flight disruptions anywhere till late in the night.

The AAI Employees Joint Forum had threatened to stop work immediately after the formal announcement of the contract for modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports. The forum had on Monday threatened to disrupt air services nationwide and even consider closure of all airports, responsibility of which, they said, would squarely lie on the government.

Taking serious note of the threat, the government had asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to stand by for any contingency. A Defence ministry spokesman said all IAF air traffic controllers and ground controlling staff have been told to be on 24-hour standby in case the unions carry out their threat and disrupt civil flight operations.

Meanwhile, the centre today asked authorities in various states to immediately put systems and arrangements in place to ensure there is no disruption in regular services at the airports.

In letters to Chief secretaries, DGPs and Commissioners of Police, Union Home secretary V K Duggal said The centre is taking all steps to ensure safety of the working staff and passengers at the airports in view of the agitation by some segments of the employees of AAI against privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Duggal has written to the authorities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune. In his letter, Duggal said Director General of Central Industrial Security Force, which guards airports, has been fully sensitised of the situation.

The Home secretary emphasised the need that systems and arrangements should be put in place to ensure that no disruption takes place at the airports in providing regular services.

Observing that the centre was keeping constant watch on the situation, he said the staff willing to perform their duties must be ensured all logistical support and security.