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Day 2: Fliers brave it, staff brave it...

WITH ABOUT 2,500 of the 3,000-odd Airports Authority of India employees being on strike, airport operations should have grounded to a halt. But that did not happen -- in fact it was business as usual inside the terminal buildings. So who kept the Delhi airport functioning for the past two days? Barely 500-odd AAI personnel -- engineers, air traffic controllers and technicians.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 01:37 IST

... keep India airborne

WITH ABOUT 2,500 of the 3,000-odd Airports Authority of India employees being on strike, airport operations should have grounded to a halt. But that did not happen -- in fact it was business as usual inside the terminal buildings. So who kept the Delhi airport functioning for the past two days? Barely 500-odd AAI personnel -- engineers, air traffic controllers and technicians.

Passengers too braved the anger of protestors who blocked the entry points to the terminal buildings. Lots of them came prepared to trudge about a kilometre with their luggage in tow. At the airport, however, the sight of overflowing garbage cans, filthy toilets and dry water taps greeted them. On Wednesday night, the AAI had taken an NGO's help to clean up. There were violent scenes when 300-odd employees went charging towards the car of former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu. He escaped, but the car's tyres were deflated. Former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi was also harassed.

Meanwhile, the Delhi HC restrained the AAI employees from disrupting in any manner the functioning of airports in the country. Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered that the employees should not stage any form of protest within a 500 metre radius of the airport.

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 01:37 IST