Firemen found directing air traffic at Tirupathi airport

If you felt your recent flight landing at Tirupathi was a bit shaky, you may not have been totally wrong.

According to the list of disciplinary actions taken by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), firefighting personnel were found handling air traffic control at the Tirupathi airport during a checking earlier this year.

According to AAI’s list of suspensions, Deputy General Manager in charge of Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Tirupathi was placed under suspension for “deploying non-ATC personal for handling live Air Traffic.”

The finer details of his offence included “issuing unauthorized orders to Fire Staff to handle air traffic control etc. at Tirupathi airport” and “mismanagement of trained manpower.” He was placed under suspension in February this year, and a charge sheet has been issued. His suspension has since been revoked.

The list also included several cases of theft, some from parcels. Interestingly, the Kolkata Airport seems to have been hit especially hard by cases of theft and pilferage.

One case, for example, states that a police official who was acting as a guard was “caught red-handed pilfering mobile phones along with accessories by tearing open Import packages while performance of duty in the night shift.”

Another case earlier in 2012 involved a Senior Attendant in Kolkata Airport who was also caught red-handed/intercepted pilfering iron plates from the Heavy Delivery Areas of the Cargo Complex while duty in the morning shift.”

Another junior attendant at the same airport was suspended five months ago for allegedly stealing, wait for it, a 26-inch LCD TV. However, the attendant seems to have stolen the TV out of poverty, rather than to make a quick buck, as the TV was later recovered from his residence.

Other reasons for inviting suspensions included drunkenness at work and overstaying leave (both at Trivandrum in Kerala), taking bribes and a few cases related to ‘dowry harassment’ and domestic violence.