Indian Aviation Agency Tells Airlines To Collect Donations, Build Toilets
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the country's Airlines to collect donations and build toilets, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi 's Clean India campaign, in a well meaning initiative that still reeks of significant overreach by a government department.
DGCA has given explicit directions to the Airlines. It has asked them to seek and remit donations towards Swachata Abhiyan at Airport in Flight during online ticket selling. It wants Airlines to adopt villages and colonies for construction of toilets and development of system of cleanliness.
The Airlines may also have to spread awareness by making announcements on domestic Flights and highlight the message through their boarding passes, posters inside the Aircraft, even videos.
The website of all Airlines will have to display slogans to motivate people to contribute towards the cleanliness drive. Mint has seen a copy of the 26 September email to Airlines.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been launched wherein government departments have to ensure that all the employees take a cleanliness pledge and lead the drive,DGCA's joint director Lalit Gupta, who heads Air safety and engineering, said in an email.
There's only one problem. Air India Ltd is a government owned company. All other Indian Airlines are privately owned; they are not government owned and they are definitely not government departments.
India's Airlines, with accumulated losses of $10.6 billion in the past seven years, are not pleased with the directive, although all of them are treading carefully so as to not offend the regulator.
Since when did we become government employees, anyway? asked an executive at a private Airline who asked not to be named. It's a completely arbitrary diktat. It appears a misguided attempt to please the Prime Minister.
The Aviation regulator wants immediate action from Airlines.
DG has directed that activity report along with photographs of the action taken in this regard are to be forwarded to this office latest by 4 Oct 2014,Gupta said in the email written to Air India chief Rohit Jet Airways (India) Ltd chief executive officer (CEO) Cramer Ball, IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh, SpiceJet Ltd chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor, GoAir CEO Giorgio De Roni and Air Costa chief N.B. Kakarala.
A SpiceJet spokesman said the airline is in discussions to work with a citizen driven cleanliness movement.
An Air India spokesman said the airline will abide by all the guidelines issued by DGCA.
As advised by DGCA, we will communicate to both our stakeholders internal and external customers,a Jet Airways spokesperson said without specifying the steps it has taken.
An email sent to an Indigo spokesperson seeking comment did not elicit any response.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a five-year?programme to eliminate open defecation and construct toilets across India that is estimated to cost Rs.62,009 crore.
DGCA should be worried about other things, said an aviation safety expert. "Instead of taking care of safety matters, it is wasting time on trivia," said Mohan Ranganathan, a Chennai-based Aviation safety analyst.
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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
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