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Worker killed on airport tarmac

A man in New Delhi on Sunday died after he was hit by a DIAL ambulance at the airside of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2008 02:03 AM IST

Despite a slew of guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry last year, accidents are a regular feature at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

A 22-year-old driver was killed on Sunday after being hit by an ambulance belonging to the private consortium running the airport. Sanjeev Kumar, an employee of Arun Aviation, worked with Jet Airways as a tractor driver on contract. Kumar was a hit by an ambulance belonging to airport operator Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd. (DIAL) at around 4.15 pm.

According to sources, Kumar was standing on the airside’s perimeter road helping someone when the ambulance hit him. Ambulance driver Ravi Shankar (25) rushed him to the airport medical centre. However, Kumar was declared brought dead by the doctors at the centre. Delhi Police have arrested the driver and registered a case of rash driving against him.

According to the guidelines issued last year, no foot movement is allowed on the airside of the airport and there is a speed limit on vehicles among other rules. Accidents, however, have been taking place at the airport with alarming regularity. The guidelines followed the death of a Deccan aeronautical engineer, Sansriti Sinha, in October last year. Sinha was crushed to death by a vehicle belonging to DIAL.

Most of the guidelines, however, remain on paper. Sources said vehicles still ply at high speed despite the ministry’s ultimatum to install speed governors in all vehicles to restrict their speed to 15 kmph by November 15, 2007.

Airlines blame DIAL for the large number of accidents at the airport. “They have packed more aircraft near the tarmac thanks to the ‘push back’ system. This means much more activity on the tarmac than earlier,” said a senior airline official. “Though more aircraft can now be parked near the tarmac, accidents too have gone up. The ongoing construction activity for the new terminal has also taken up much space and maneuverability has gone down,” he said.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had also instructed DIAL to mount constant surveillance inside the airport since rules were in place but not followed. “We can only formulate guidelines and make systems but cannot police everyone, it is the job of DIAL,” a senior DGCA official said.

Last year, 49 collision accidents were reported at the airport. In four cases, vehicles collided with aircraft, in 12 cases ground handling equipment vehicles collided with aircraft and in 33 cases, the equipment vehicles collided with each other.

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