Even after receiving flak from the civil aviation ministry for holding up appointment of 33 candidates to the post of air traffic managers, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has still not issued letters to this effect. Instead, it has gone ahead with a new advertisement to fill the vacancies.
Despite a huge shortage in trained air traffic controllers (ATCs), the AAI had reduced the intake of officers up to 50 per cent earlier this year. As reported by HT in April, the AAI, on March 3, had declared a curtailed list of 35 candidates selected for the post of ATCs or air traffic managers.
This was after it withdrew a list of 68 candidates on December 4, 2009 — three days after announcing it.
The AAI manages all civil air traffic in India, which has about 2,000 ATC officers — roughly about 60 per cent of the requirement. It is the job of the ATCs to handle landings and take-offs at airports, prevent collisions and ensure smooth flow of air traffic.
After the HT report was published, the ministry, in a meeting on the subject of staff recruitment had issued a directive to issue appointment letters. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of ministry’s Joint Secretary Alok Sinha.
The AAI management is yet to issue appointment letters to 33 candidates withdrawn from the December 2009 list. Instead, it went ahead and published a fresh advertisement on its website announcing 79 vacancies for the post of Manager (ATCs) and 112 for manager (Electronics).
Said one of the overlooked candidates, on the condition of anonymity, as he feared professional victimisation: “This is plain injustice to us, as we have already cleared a lengthy process of recruitment — a written test followed by an interview. This process had taken almost three years for which AAI management is responsible, and now they want us to undergo the trauma again.”
According to the new advertisement, the last date for the receipt of applications was August 12 (extended to August 16 for those applying online).
AAI chairman V.P. Agrawal, despite repeated attempts to be contacted on landline and mobile phones, wasn’t available for comment.