The buggy services meant to ferry passengers inside the terminal at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) are in disarray. The vehicles that ferry VIPs and elderly people, especially in the long Terminal 3, are not functional due to lack of repair.
Airport sources said that due to the security alert in place for Independence Day, workers were not allowed to enter the terminal and maintenance could not be carried out. Sources said that 12 out of 32 battery-operated vehicles are not working and they are waiting for the security agencies to start issuing entry passes to workers.
The Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) bans the entry of visitors at least 15 days before Independence Day and resumes it only after August 20. Since the buggies are battery operated, they require regular maintenance. "We have 32 buggies, of which 18-20 are working properly. They require maintenance almost every third day, which was not possible due to the security alert," said an airport official.
The most common problem these vehicles face is lack of distilled water in batteries. In a few vehicles, the accelerators do not work properly. Although there are walkalators and escalators, passengers take the buggy service if they don't want to walk in the long terminal.
According to airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), they are not bound to provide any such service.
"Elderly or disabled passengers have the option of requesting a wheelchair service at the time of check-in or at their point of origin. For passengers not requiring these services, the airport provides travelators, lifts and escalators," said a DIAL spokesperson.
"DIAL does not provide a paid buggy service nor is it obliged under any contractual agreement to provide such a service either paid for or for free," the spokesperson added.