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AAI driver in coma after Sunday mishap

Om Prakash, 51, a driver with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is battling for life at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, report Sidhartha Roy and Vijaita Singh.
Hindustan Times | By Sidhartha Roy and Vijaita Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2007 01:07 AM IST

Accidents and injuries are not uncommon inside the Indira Gandhi International Airport. On Sunday, an airport employee was gravely injured after being hit by a motorcycle inside the airport area.

Om Prakash, 51, a driver with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is battling for life at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. He was hit by a motorcycle being driven by a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) inspector at 8.30 am on Sunday morning. Prakash was admitted to the hospital with serious head injuries and has been in coma since then.

"His condition is still critical," said his son Pravesh. "We were told about the accident around 9.30 am," he added.

Sources in the hospital declared Om Prakash brain-dead when brought to the hospital.

CISF has ordered a board of inquiry to investigate the incident. "An FIR has been lodged and we are also inquiring into the matter. Action against the official will be taken accordingly," said Senior Commandant Udayan Bannerjee.

"Om Prakash was walking on the airside when this motorcycle hit him. Unless it was speeding, it couldn't have injured him so seriously," said an airport source.

Incidents where vehicles have rammed into other vehicles and even aircraft are common. There have also been incidents of airport personnel being injured by speeding vehicles.

The speed limit inside the airport area is 15 kmph, but airport sources said the rule is hardly followed.

"There is absolutely no monitoring by the Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd. It is virtually a free-for-all inside the 5,100 acre IGI Airport," said a senior airline official.

He said traffic inside the airport is not regulated and drivers have to keep a constant eye on both the left and the right side for vehicles.

"There is always the possibility of an accident. Recent renovation has made the airport even more treacherous," he said.

"The air side management of DIAL, which was earlier called ground and flight safety department, is responsible for keeping a strict vigil on over-speeding and lane driving by vehicles and that all personnel wear reflector jackets. However, they have been lacking in that," said another source.

A DIAL spokesperson, however, said they run training programmes for all vehicle drivers at the airport. "We have also initiated periodic refresher programs and random checks. We have also appointed airside monitoring inspectors to keep a vigil on safety compliance and violators of norms are strictly penalised," he said.

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