Filth, stench, scuffle greet flyers
Police in riot gear stood guard outside the airports. Why a revamp? | Airport messUpdated: Feb 03, 2006 17:00 IST
Thestrike and unruly protests by airport workers continued for the third day on Friday.
The Delhi High Court had asked the striking employees not to hamper normal functioning of work on Thursday.
The 22,000-member Airports Authority of India Employees Union members broke windows of airport buildings and scuffled with security staff as they stayed off the job to protest privatisation plans of Delhi and Mumbai airports.
Though flight services were not largely affected, passengers reaching the airports, especially in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata were greeted by the stench of garbage and clogged toilets.
Security forces guard airports
Police and Rapid Action Force in riot gear stood guard outside the country's two main airports to prevent untoward incidents. Barricades have erected along the roads leading to the airports.
In Mumbai, security men herded hundreds of strikers to a car park, away from the airport entrance which was the scene of clashes on Tuesday.
Passengers bear brunt
Garbage bins were overflowing, toilets were left uncleaned and passengers had to walk to terminals in the national capital after protestors blocked the main road to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.
The blockage of the access road forced passengers to walk long distances to the terminal.
"The road blockade will continue indefinitely," said Joy Lal, the joint general secretary of the striking union.
Newspapers and leaflets lie strewn outside the terminals and in the lounge areas of both Mumbai and Delhi airports.
In Mumbai, the airport was strewn with litter, and in Kolkata, baggage handling came to a standstill with airline staff helping passengers disembark.
Congested waiting areas, a lack of comfortable seating, slow baggage handling and unreliable power supplies make travel a misery for the fast-expanding middle classes who increasingly take to the air for long-distance journeys.
Many planes were grounded on the first day of the strike by the workers who handle cargo, baggage, cleaning and maintenance, but on Thursday, officials said that while cargo piled up, flight schedules were largely unaffected.
Court sees red
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court asked the striking employees not to hamper normal functioning of work at the airports.
The court also directed the employees not to agitate within 500 metres of all the airports in the country.
First Published: Feb 02, 2006 11:01 IST