March 21, 2013

Letter to civil aviation minister; Poor services at new Kolkata airport terminal.

March 21, 2013

Mr Ajit Singh
Minister for Civil Aviation
Government of India
New Delhi

Dear Mr Singh,

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of Kolkata, appalled and disgusted by the state of the new terminal at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. After years and decades of waiting your Ministry and the Airports Authority of India, a body that comes under your superintendence, deigned to give Kolkata the modern airport terminal it deserved. Alas, the AAI and your Ministry have far from delivered on your promises.

The airport terminal that is now functional is a stigma on the fair name of Kolkata. It is an insult to the city, its people and frequent users of airlines, and to the memory of Netaji, for whom the airport is named. Does one ascribe this to the UPA government’s legendary incompetence or to its long-standing policy of neglect and hostility to West Bengal?

I would request answers to those questions, and also to the questions below:

Why has the terminal been thrown open despite being only half-ready? Does your Ministry also
        allow airlines to fly planes that are half-ready?

Why are the toilets so filthy and many parts of the terminal so dirty that these would challenge
        normal human dignity?

Why are garbage bins spilling over, just like in the old terminal I may add?

Why are cleaners almost invisible in the washrooms?

Why is there hardly any signage?

Why is there simply no signage at the conveyor belts? Are passengers meant to intuit where
        their bags may appear?

Why must passengers take buses to board a domestic flight despite so many aerobridges?
        Are these aerobridges showpieces or are they meant for actual use?

Why is there hardly any food and beverages counter?

Why is there no convenience shop to browse and buy goods or memorabilia?

Why are trolleys scattered outside the terminal and in the parking area, rather than neatly
        stacked in a line?

Sir, I apologise if my letter and questions sound rude and angry. However, you will appreciate that the people of Kolkata have waited years for this new airport terminal.

At the end of their patience and their wait, is this all they deserve?

Yours sincerely,

Derek O’Brien
Member of Parliament