Flight row: J&K Dy CM targets Air India pilot

Thursday, Jul 2, 2015,17:47 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Jammu | Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who is caught in a row over alleged deboarding of a family to accommodate him on an Air India plane, today said some people were disallowed on the aircraft perhaps because of delay. He targeted the pilot and other staff of the Leh-Delhi flight of June 24, alleging rude behaviour and complained to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju about it in a letter to him.
Through this communication I am lodging the official complaint against all those officers and officials including Saran, the pilot on that flight who not only bring disrepute to the national Air Carrier but also cause anguish to the people of Ladakh, J&K, whom I represent as Deputy Chief Minister, Singh wrote to Raju. Appropriately, effective action be taken up, he added.
Giving his version of the developments on the fateful day, he said, On June 24th of June, I landed at Leh at 6:30 AM through Indigo flight to attend the Sindhu Darshan festival as Chief Guest on the invitation of the organising committee. Function was scheduled to start at 9 AM. So, I booked my return tickets on the same day in flight of Air India which was to depart at 11:20 AM.
Venue of festival was at a distance of 20-25 minutes journey. I deputed one offical at airport to checkin luggage and got issued the boarding pass in time. At around 9:53 AM when I was performing rituals on the bank of Sindhu river I received message from some official that Air India flight has reached early and is ready to depart.
The Deputy Chief Minister said in a hurry I requested the organising committee to conclude the ceremony within 15-20 minutes. It was distasteful but the committee obliged me and I left for Airport along with my OSD and reached there at 10:48 AM. I collected my boarding pass wherein time for boarding was written 10:40 AM. But to my surprise I was told that pilot has closed the doors of plane. I found two more families wandering there who were denied boarding.
He added, The families who were denied permission to board the plane were perhaps replaced with new passengers on the excuse of delay. He said The order of pilot to close the door was wrong. So I rushed to the tarmac. Pilot Saran instead of apologising for his wrong actions rushed down from the ladder and created a dramatic situation and rudely behaved.
Though I boarded the plane to reach Delhi to attend other pre-scheduled official meetings, I found it imperative on my part to communicate the incident depicting the disservice of Air India officers causing anguish to the people of the far flung areas, Nirmal Singh wrote to Civil Aviation Minister.
June 23 to 26 are celebrated as Sindhu Darshan festival in Ladakh and pilgrims from rest of the country visit the site of Sindhu river but I am shocked when I came to know that during these days also Air service is as erratic as reportedly complained by the people of Ladakh, he added. The J&K Deputy Chief Minister said, On the same pattern of rural bus service I experienced that pilot dictated the time of departure and arrival and also the passengers to board the plane.
He hit out at Air India and said that many a time in the past, Leh and Ladakh people have complained against erratic air services especially by Air India. This was widely reported also. One incident I witnessed on 24th June…, he added. The controversy erupted after reports that a family of three persons was deboarded from the flight to accommodate Nirmal Singh, along with Union Minister of State for Home Kirren Rijiju and his aide.