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19 Dec 2017

Officials wake up to Bagdogra Airport mess

MANAS R BANNERJEE, SNS, BAGDOGRA. 18 DECEMBER 2017: Acknowledging several lapses and problems, the Bagdogra Airport authority now plans to make a fresh "alignment" of the traffic lanes for smooth movement of vehicles that enter and depart the airport. The decision comes hot on the heels of a series of reports published in The Statesman regarding the myriad of problems plaguing the region's only airport that serves thee entire North Bengal and Sikkim.
Authorities have also decided to conduct a survey so as to "revise" the time limit for any vehicle to drop passengers and return, so as to avoid the full parking fee of Rs 55.
The reports in The Statesman were like a mirror that reflected to us the present situation of the airport," Bagdogra Airport director Rakesh R Sahay said today.
Admitting the problems of traffic snarls and altercations during collection of parking fees, Mr Sahay added "We have decided to bring in some changes to resolve the problems and do away with the botllenecks in the main entrance and exit points.'
If we can relocate thee present parking fee collection centre and the police outpost and earmark an area for paying state buses and other government vehicles, the problem will be resolved and traffic movement will ease," he said, adding ‘More plan to call in experts and traders, as well as tour operators' bodies to conduct a study for the revision of the time limit, which i s presently five minutes for collecting parking fees."
" Following their suggestions, I can recommend authorities concerned to approvethe time limit extension," he said.
On the" attack" on a Bengali actor Koushik Sen at the Kolkata Airport on Saturday, Mr Sahay said: We always ask the agency people to behave properly with passengers and drivers during collection of parking fees."
On the manual system to issue the 'time slip' and record the time of entry Ola car and its number, Mr Sahay said: "The agency was asked to issue a mechanized slip. The system was introduced initially, but practically we saw that the system of recording the number of the vehicle was taking more time than the manual system, as such, hitting traffic clearance.'
Alternatively, sources said that closed circuit television cameras have been installed to record the number of vehicles entering the first gate. while the chief security officer of the airport is keeping a close eye on the vehicles' movement.
Quoting a government order, Mr Sahay also said: "It is not true that security forces cannot check vehicles due to the fast movement. There is a norm that 10 per cent of the total vehicles, which enter the airport area will be checked.
Mr Sahay further said that the contract with the present agency for collecting parking fees will be terminated and a fresh tender floated. "Some changes will be implemented before we go for a fresh
contract," he pointed out.
Some unsuccessful bidders had earlier sought detailed information of contracts signed with the present agency, sources said. One Raihan Alam was one of them, and he has sought such information in detail on 13 July 2017 under the Right to lnformation Act.
To be continued

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