NDA govt orders inspection at airports, Congress demands Modi's explanation

After the recent mishaps in Jabalpur, Delhi and Rajkot, the aviation ministry has called for reports from all airports across the country within 2–5 days

Civil aviation minister inspecting Delhi Airport's T1 terminal on 28 June 2024
(photo: @RamMNK/x)
Civil aviation minister inspecting Delhi Airport's T1 terminal on 28 June 2024 (photo: @RamMNK/x)

NH Political Bureau

'Rajkot Airport: Inaugurated on 27 July 2023, roof collapsed on 29 June 2024' — this was the brief X post by Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera on Saturday, 29 June. Yet another airport roof canopy — Rajkot this time — had collapsed under heavy rain, following similar mishaps at Delhi and Jabalpur airports.

Khera's post was just one of the countless social media reactions to the series of infrastructure disasters of the last few days, with netizens often resorting to dark humour to highlight the continuing series of incidents, beginning with the Ayodhya Ram Mandir roof developing leaks, news of which broke on 25 June thanks to the temple's chief priest reaching out to media.

The roof wasn't all of it. The much hyped Ram Path, the brand new thoroughfare which was part of the makeover the ancient city underwent ahead of the temple's inauguration on 22 January, also caved in spectacularly.

Speaking of cave-ins, the ominous cracks on the approach roads to the hugely hyped Atal Setu also became the butt of social media jokes and memes. As did the Union civil aviation minister's 'explanation' (read: excuse) for the IGIA collapse, because that part was built in the UPA era.

Meanwhile, Congress MP Hibi Eden criticised Prime Minister Modi, demanding an explanation, as the NDA government ordered a structural preliminary inspection at all airports across the country.

Eden accused the Modi government of poor quality construction and corruption, asserting, "Design and quality of construction also have to be investigated!"

He emphasised the need for a thorough investigation, insisting that accountability could not be set aside.

The Kerala Congress sharpened its attack on PM Modi in the wake of the disasters and near-disaster, and shared a picture of Kannur International Airport, constructed by Oommen Chandy's government, stating, 'The airport endures heavy rains and wind every year, but not a single part has collapsed.'

Accusing the Modi government of stepmotherly treatment, the Kerala Congress questioned, "Since the beginning, the Centre has denied 'point of call' status to the Kannur airport, which allows foreign carriers to operate flights to Kannur. Meanwhile, a domestic airport in Jamnagar was elevated overnight to international status and permitted hundreds of international flights for the grand Ambani pre-wedding bash. What is the reason for this stepmotherly treatment?"

Sharing photographs of damaged and collapsed airports on X, Supriya Shrinate, head of the Congress’ social media department, criticised mainstream TV media for remaining silent on the mishaps and deflecting blame onto the UPA government.

She posted on X: 'The devotees keep sniffing the snake until they get the WhatsApp message. They cannot say even a word of tribute on someone's death, but as soon as they hear snoring, they start copying and pasting. Narendra Modi inaugurated all these airports within the last year — how come they are breaking down so soon? These people don't have the courage to ask this question.'

AAP leader Sanjay Singh blamed the 'Chanda do, dhanda lo' scheme for all the poor construction.

He demanded investigation, drawing attention to the canopy collapse in Rajkot, Gujarat, and asking 'How much did the companies that worked on the terminal, road and Atal bridge donate to BJP through electoral bonds?'

Meanwhile, some users on X commented that the civil aviation ministry was deliberately given to the TDP to defame the Andhra-based party. Others appealed to the TDP to act before it was too late.

Union civil aviation minister Ram Mohan Naidu accused the opposition of politicising the Terminal 1 canopy collapse at Delhi Airport.

"We aim to prevent such incidents from recurring by conducting structural preliminary inspections at all airports," Naidu was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"We have requested reports from all airports across the country within 2-5 days. Based on these reports, we will determine the necessary measures to prevent future incidents," he added.

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