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New terminal at Lucknow airport found defective

A note from the Press Information Bureau of India about Lucknow airport, which is incidentally named after the father of present civil aviation minister Ajit Singh. The airport is owned and operated by the Airports Authority of India.

Taking a serious note of the complaints of irregularities in the construction of the New Terminal Building of the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport, Lucknow, Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Ajit Singh has decided to refer the matter to the Chief Technical Examiner’s Wing of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for conducting a detailed enquiry into construction of the building. The decision of Shri Ajit Singh is based on a preliminary enquiry report submitted by a committee which was headed by Shri Samir Sahai, Chief Vigilance Officer, Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited. This committee was constituted by the Minister himself following various complaints received from Members of Parliament and news items published in this regard in newspapers. The report submitted by the enquiry officer has prima facie substantiated various defects in the construction quality, design and maintenance of Lucknow Airport Terminal.

The committee members visited the Airport in Lucknow and found the quality of work of the New Terminal Building below standard. The major defects included leakages from the roof above the check-in counter, in the ceilings near the departure lounge corridor and from some of the thermal expansion joints. The rain water harvesting method was also found prone to leakage as proper drainage system was not in place. The Committee also found that the flooring in the Arrival and Departure Terminal was not proper with granite stone cracking at some places. The electrical fittings were also not properly fixed up at many places. The overall maintenance of the building was found in poor condition, despite the fact that it was inaugurated only about two months back.

As the Committee was of the view that the architectural design as well as construction shortcomings and defects and quality of work need to be verified in detail, it was decided to refer the matter to the CVC. The building was constructed by M/s IPL, Brahmaputra Infrastructure Ltd. (JV) at a cost of about Rs. 90 crore out of which Rs. 85 crore has already been paid to the contractor. This is also noteworthy that the award of the construction was finalized in October 2007 and stipulated date of completion was April 2009. However, the completion was delayed and completed in May 2012. Inauguration of the airport was done on 19th May 2012. The Civil Aviation Minister has taken a serious note of the fact that the airport was inaugurated without ensuring the complete and quality construction. The Minister has clarified to the authorities that stern action will be taken against those found guilty.

The contractor has already received almost all his money. The delay of three years itself would have invoked certain cost escalation clauses in favour of the contractor. What are your views on these developments? Will the true facts ever see the light of day? Will ALL those guilty and culpable face justice?

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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