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Mumbai airport workers lathicharged, 5 hurt

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 01, 2006 18:21 IST
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Flight operations at the Mumbai airport were not affected even as the strike was marred by violence in which five persons were injured as police resorted to cane-charge to prevent some workers from storming the Airport terminal building by breaking the cordon.

"Five persons were injured in the commotion following the lathicharge but no one was injured in the lathicharge," Dy Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shengaonkar said.

However, AAI Employees Union claimed that about 25 persons were injured and taken to Nanavati Hospital and other nearby medical centres.

While AAI authorities said contingency measures taken by them had ensured smooth operations, passengers at the Delhi airport complained of delays and deterioration in services.

Police resorted to lathicharge thrice to disperse around 3,000 AAI employees who staged a sit-in at the main entrance of the airport.


However, air traffic and passenger movement were not affected as air traffic controllers (ATCs) have not joined the strike, AAI officials said.

Earlier, members of the AAI Employees Union staged a sit-in at the main entrance of departure terminus and raised anti-government slogans.

Joint Secretary of AAI Employees Union Nitin Jadhav claimed the strike was 'total' as 3,000 employees working in ground handling, maintenance, aerobridge, electricals and other units had joined the strike.

"Impact of the strike will be felt in the night when the international operations start," he said.

Meanwhile, flight services have been affected in Kolkata. The Air Traffic Control at the Netaji S C Bose International airport in Kolkata issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) in the afternoon, as per which no flight can take-off or land, after the fire brigade personnel and those in charge of lighting at the runway joined the agitation, airport sources said.

The ATC was forced to issue the notice, as these two services are essential for landing and take off, they said adding that the operations had been normal in the morning.

The government had opened financial bids on Tuesday and awarded contracts for modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports to consortia led by GMR-Fraport and GVK-South African Airports, respectively.

Meanwhile, members of AAI Employees Union on Wednesday started an agitation at the VIP entrance of the domestic terminal to vent their anger against police officials, who lathicharged Airport Authority of India employees protesting against privatisation of Mumbai and Delhi airports.

Indian Airlines and Alliance Air employees are likely to join the strike in the afternoon, AAI Employees Union claimed.

"Indian Airlines, Alliance Air and Pawan Hans employees would be joining the strike. The helicopter service to ONGC has been stalled," AAI Employees Union general secretary Nitin Jadhav told PTI.

A group of around 200 employees is presently protesting at the airport, he said.

Meanwhile, airport officials said that Indian Air Force team has been asked to standby.

Photograph: Armed guards posted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Wednesday, even as the workers of the Airport Authority of India began an indefinite strike against the governments effort to privatise airports in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Courtesy: Sondeep Shankar/ Saab Pictures

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