Airlines, staff want existing airports to stay

As per this story in Business-Standard:

“… lobbying to prevent closure of the existing facilities — at the Airport Authority of India’s Begumpet airport in Hyderabad and HAL airport in Bangalore — has got louder”

I have been predicting here that these noises will grow louder. And this newspapers story quotes an unnamed ‘official’ from Civil Aviation ministry to tell us just that:

“Yes, the crescendo is rising. In fact, we recently had a meeting in the ministry to discuss this, but we are bound by the contract,” said a civil aviation ministry official …The contracts with Bangalore … and Hyderabad International Airport(s) provide for closure of the existing facilities when the new airports start.

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Security and procedures?

investigationSpotted this picture in Monday’s TOI that showed a bomb disposal guy inspecting a mobile phone that was found at the spot of the bomb blast in Hyderabad on Sunday. My first reactions to the picture – how can you hold that with bare hands? Where are the gloves, or a hanky? Is this how they do it? No standard procedure for possible evidences?

[Picture clipped from TOI Bangalore epaper, May 21 2007]


Complaints: a tale of few cities – #1

E-governance is a two way street, no initiative is complete without an electronic and easy way of taking in suggestions and complaints, and may I add – RTI (Right to Information) applications as well. How about we look at relevant online systems of a few city governments?

KALYAN-Dombivili gets cited for having one of the best egovernance implementations. As about the complaints system, you can lodge one via 4 clear steps. You get a token # in the end that you use to get status on your complaints. Even better, there is a citizen charter there that tells you the number of days a complaint should take to get addressed and who all get to act on it. One curious thing – even though Kalyan has concept of “unique citizen #” for its residents, it is not used in lodging complaints.

HYDERABAD lets you register complaints, as well as check status on same. One thing that sets them apart is – you can search and lookup all complaints. 1491 entires for March 2007, what says you, is usage high or low? Searches showed me that most complaints lodged and disposed are about street lighting. Understandably enough, most complaints in “encroachments” category are ‘pending’!

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Social cost of cars

After that comment on the previous post (on Tata’s car), I tried to search for linkable material on “social cost of cars” type work done by CSE. Couldn’t locate any. But thankfully, the Swaminomics column that talked about it – TOI has it online. Read – “The hidden social cost of vehicles“:

… There is little appreciation among politicians or the middle class of the huge social cost of cars. They cannot see that huge subsidies, mostly hidden, are being ladled out to car-owners. These need to be abolished and replaced with user charges or taxes that reflect the full social cost of cars …

Stuff like motoring infrastructure, pollution are obvious to many. We do pay towards these by way of taxes and direct-costs (emission norms compliance, euro-II, Bharat-I etc). But things like cost of congestions and hidden parking subsidies are neither well understood nor explained or obvious.

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Un”fair” hiring game in the skies?

I am glad someone brought this up because I have had these thoughts myself as I watched our airlines grow. We are talking about cabin crew on our domestic airlines. A former US diplomat termed this “racism” in a newspaper column this week, but let me take this a bit further.

Perhaps, racism is not the right word. Skin color bias is the objection I would raise. You don’t see many (any?) dark complexioned flight attendants on our domestic airlines, do you? Actually, there is more. Just look at these job descriptions on various airline sites to discover this. Most are clear about complexion requirements and one has a preferred marital status! Besides, there is age and sex bias as well – all want them young (less than 25/27/30 years), and some only want females!

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Hyderabad vs Bangalore – 1

Here you go Vasanth. I didn’t write this as another “us and them” post, that might come across as unhealthy/cheap way of playing this up. What got me started was an article in ToI today that seemed to grow this thought (Airports on time) into a more verbose comparison of the two new airports.

In there though, Sowmya Aji didn’t cover much on the point I am more curious to hear on. Both the airports could be looking at playing a regional South Asian hub. Think Aus/NZ/Indonesia/Malay area to Europe. Think Japan/Korea to South Africa. Why not? In that context, I was hoping for some good statistics based analysis on 1) whether there is space for both of them 2) do these airports stand a chance of grabbing a piece if there is a market there. Sadly, that part of ToI article had nothing more that content from the two websites (BIAL, GMR Hyd).

Anyways. Dear journalists, could we have a detailed and healthy comparison between the two cities. Look at their ambitious projects, look at their current positions, and tell me how the two will look a few years from now. More than a healthy competition, perhaps there are things to learn from each other. Don’t know if there is a forum in our country where big cities sit down, share their experiences and collaborate. There must be one, just that I couldn’t find any informative sites for this.

Beyond these airports, here are some other quick-n-small Hyd-Blr tidbits for you: Continue reading

Airports on time!

Just thought I will move this comment from Srivathsa up to a post here. So as per this Press Information Bureau release, we have confirmation that BIAL will open on time:

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