Nagpur News: The proverb: “Two are a company and the three are a crowd.” The Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Airport in Nagpur, it seems, is facing the same situation as far as its development is concerned. The responsibility for management and development of the airport previously was in the hands of Maharashtra Airports Development Corporation (MADC). However, in an agreement Airports Authority of India (AAI) and MADC, took the responsibility of the Nagpur Airport. But the airport was starved of much needed development. Unfortunately, the situation remained same despite two major companies overlooking the airport for good management and further development. However, according to the agreement, Mihan India Private Limited was included as a joint venture company. But despite completing over four years of joint venture, the Airport shows no sign of any significant development and improved management. And now, the Government is considering to include a third company as joint venture to give a facelift to the airport.
The hint for involvement of a third company as a joint venture was given by the Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh when he had come to Nagpur for inauguation of a new statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at the airport. Presently, the Airports Authority of India handles the ATC and CNC departments while the responsibility of management lies with the Mihan. A few months ago a major dispute had cropped up over the issue of employees. Then the development works got a major jolt due to shortage of funds. The local leaders apprised the Minister of their disappointment over no significant development activities at the Nagpur Airport. The leaders lamented that the development plans of airports across the nation have remained in papers and files only.
Another important issue is that the revenue of the airport has come down considerably as a result of slow works of Mihan project. Even the small works at the airport are not carried out due to crunch of funds. But instead of trying to create funds necessary for better management and further development of the airport the AAI and Mihan authorities are sitting idle hoping the Government will come to their help but even the Government , it seems, is sidelining the matter. Till now, the AAI was depending on Central Government and the Mihan on Maharashtra Government for overlooking the Nagpur Airport’s vital activities. And if the Government cites the reasons of the non-developmental activities by the AAI and Mihan, then it is certain that a private company will be vested with the responsibility of managing and developing the Nagpur Airport. In clear terms privatization of Nagpur Airport!!
Rs 2200 PLATE MEAL: One of the officials on the condition of anonymity said that when Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had come to inaugurate Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s new statue the arrangement for delicious meals was made at a posh hotel near the airport in the honour of the minister. At least 150-200 people including the officials Nagpur Airport and people’s representatives enjoyed the party. But the most shocking fact came to fore was that the hotel charged Rs 2200 per plate. The total amount of bill for the meals was in lakhs of rupees. On one hand the Airport authorities grudge for short of funds for development and on the hand spend massive amount on meals for VVIPs. This is unfortunate. An enquiry must be conducted and the guilty persons be punished, said the official.
Similarly, lakhs of rupees were spent catching animals roaming on runways. The contact for catching the animals like dogs, pigs, cows etc was given to private persons whereas the responsibility of the action should have been with Airport personnel. The Airport authorities get photographed with the animals caught by the private persons for the sake of record. The animal catchers were given between Rs 1200 and 2000 thus incurring a loss of approximately Rs 3 lakh per year. If the authorities appoint 4 or 5 persons on contract basis for catching the animals it may cost Rs 1 lakh or so. But the decision is likely to hit the concerned authorities who were getting commission from private persons catching the animal. However, sanity prevailed and the authorities installed solar fencing and the contract for catching the animals was given to Nagpur Municipal Corporation.