Thursday, Sep 05, 2002
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By P.K. Bhardwaj
The warning was provoked by the State's failure to respond to the Centre's request, in which it had listed some steps to be taken immediately to improve safety. In fact, the attention of the State Chief Secretary had specifically been drawn in July to the existence of some trees that rendered flight operations to and from Patna unsafe.
It was on the basis of the recommendations of an experts committee, headed by the Director General of Civil Aviation, and the difficulty expressed by two carriers Indian Airlines and Air Sahara in operating flights due to the short length of the runway, that the State Government was asked to facilitate the cutting of some trees in the adjacent Sanjay Gandhi botanical garden, besides acquiring land for strengthening the runway.
"As the safety of passengers is involved, it will not be possible for the Ministry of Civil Aviation to direct the airlines to operate to and from Patna unless the State Government cooperates in creating safe flying conditions,'' the Civil Aviation Minister, Shahnawaz Hussain, said in a letter to the Bihar Chief Minister, Rabri Devi, today.
K. Balchand writes from Patna:
The Rashtriya Janata Dal president, Laloo Prasad Yadav, remained unfazed by the warning and said that the best alternative was to shift it to the Air Force base in Bihta. Mr. Yadav said that there was no way the botanical garden could be tampered with.
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