Delhi Airport chaos: ‘Janata se maafi maango!’ Shashi Tharoor asks Scindia to apologise for flight delays

Delhi Airport chaos led to a verbal spat between Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor called for an apology from the Civil Aviation Minister over flight cancellations.

Livemint
First Published18 Jan 2024
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

Delhi Airport chaos led to a verbal spat between Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor with both political leaders starting a war of words on X (formerly Twitter) over the flight delays in the national capital.

Tharoor stated that the Civil Aviation minister should apologize to the passengers whose flights were canceled on January 14 and 15 due to fog conditions.

"I don't need an "esoteric thesaurus" to respond to@jm_scindia's selective rebuttal of my thread yesterday. Some 80,000 passengers had their flights cancelled on January 14th and 15th alone, with lakhs more suffering through incessant delays," the Congress leader wrote on the microblogging site.

He said, “It would be prudent for the Honourable Minister to apologise to them for the agony and distress that his Government has caused, enabled, and overseen rather than engage in nugatory name-calling. Mantri-ji, ahankaar chhodo, Janata se maafi maango!”

On Wednesday, Tharoor questioned the Indian government's preparedness to ensure that airlines have sufficiently trained pilots to land planes on CAT III-B compliant runways at Delhi airport that enable continuance of flight operations even during visibility as low as 50 meters due to fog conditions.

He had in his tweet pointed out the ordeal of passengers amid flight delays for up to 12 hours, leading them to eat meals on the tarmac, in the background of the “sorry state of affairs of India's aviation sector".

This comes as several flights were delayed or cancelled at Delhi Airport, making passengers wait for long hours amid the severe cold wave conditions that gripped north India.

Responding to these allegations, Scindia posted a series of tweets hitting out at the Congress MP. Scindia said, “It is for someone who is lost in his esoteric world of thesaurus that data mining of selective press articles from the internet qualifies as research".

Calling Shashi Tharoor an “arm-chair critic", Jyotiraditya Scindia posted a series of tweets that the BJP MP called “actual facts".

Shashi Tharoor, citing new reports, pointed out that the Delhi airport had plummeted into chaos. He pointed out that the “Modi government began maintenance work on one of the two CAT III-B runways (in Delhi airport) in September 2023, fully aware that it would not be ready for the winter!"

To this Jyotiraditya Scindia replied, “The maintenance was taken on top priority to be completed by 15th December before the onset of the fog season. However, due to pollution incidents and enforcement of GRAP-IV in Delhi, the recarpeting got delayed, resulting in a delay of one month in its commissioning. The revamped RWY is getting operational this week".

"Even worse, a crane from some other construction work was blocking the operation of CAT III-B on one runway, even after repairs were complete. Delhi Airport flagged this over 10 days ago, on Jan 5th, but no action was taken," Shashi Tharoor said, raising the issue.

To this Scindia jibed, “The crane was being used for the construction of another critical infrastructure project - the Dwarka Expressway".

The Delhi Airport Flight Information Display System stated that 120 flights were delayed and 53 cancelled, including domestic and international, due to fog on Wednesday.

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