<b>XIII LOK SABHA DEBATES, <i> Session II (Winter Session) </i> </b>
XIII LOK SABHA DEBATES, Session II (Winter Session) Wednesday, December 15, 1999/Agrahayana 24, 1921 (Saka )


Type of Debate: STATEMENT BY MINISTER
Title: Statement regarding accident that occurred on 13th December, 1999 at I.G.I. airport, New Delhi.

TEXT :
16.35 hours

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SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI (RAIGANJ): Madam, this is a very serious matter. I take strong objection of the fact that the incident took place right in the capital on 13th December and the Minister has come to the House after 48 hours to make a statement. What prevented the Minister to make a statement yesterday?

Secondly, the Head of the Airport Authority has been appointed a member in the committee to inquire into the incident.

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... (ɴvx)

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The entire responsibility of the security and management lies with the Airport Authority of India and the Government has appointed its head as a member to inquire into the incident. Are you taking the matter lightly? You cannot do like this. It has been reported in the electronic and print media that for 45 minutes the escalator went on rolling. There was nobody to stop it. Nobody knew how to stop it. The Minister has simply said that the escalator rolled and the child got crushed because someone was behind her. It is not a fact. The Minister has to state the facts properly. It went on rolling for 45 minutes and there was nobody to stop it. Why has the Government appointed someone to be a member of the Inquiry Committee who himself is answerable to the country? The Government should have appointed somebody else.

It was reported that the Government instantly offered Rs.5 lakh as compensation to the family but they refused to accept it. Do you have some concern for humanity? At that time did anybody ask for the money? Instead of punishing the guilty, the Government instantly offered the money.

This is a very serious incident. We are not at all satisfied with the statement. Will the Government change the authority being appointed to inquire into the incident and appoint someone who is free from the control of the Airport Authority?

MR. CHAIRMAN : I am not allowing a discussion on this. Since this is a serious matter, Members are allowed to raise a few points.

SHRI RUPCHAND PAL (HOOGLY): I would like to say that it should be a judicial inquiry. No less than a sitting judge should go into what has happened, otherwise, there will be the suspicion and the doubts that have been raised in the minds of not only Indians but the people abroad. To assuage the feelings as also to remove any lurking doubt about the functioning of the Airport Authority, it should be inquired into by a sitting judge.

It is being said that it is maintained by OTIS through a comprehensive maintenance contract with monthly checking. My query is, when was it checked last time?

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... (ɴvx)

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... (ɴvx)

You do not think that it is a serious matter. What are you talking?... (Interruptions)

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... (ɴvx)

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MR. CHAIRMAN : You cannot have a discussion on a statement.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : Madam, the international tourism sector is shocked by this incident. I want to help the Minister. But he is taking it lightly... (Interruptions)

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... (ɴvx)

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SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : I was expecting a reply stating the fact about the suspension of the persons of the Airport who are responsible for this. I thought you would constitute an inquiry. But you left the matter to the Chairman itself... (Interruptions)

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... (ɴvx)

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... (ɴvx)

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... (ɴvx)

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... (ɴvx)

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : Why are you suppressing the information? He did not say so in the statement. But now he comes out with the facts. This is not the way. You cannot take the House lightly. Why did you suppress the information? Madam, he should have mentioned the fact regarding suspension... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please give him the chance to reply.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : If the Minister comes with a statement, suppressing the basic fact of suspension, do you think it is the proper way to inform the House?... (Interruptions) Madam, had I not raised this point, the House would have been kept in dark... (Interruptions). I am not talking to you. I am talking to the Minister. Madam, it amounts to breach of privilege.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If it amounts to breach of privilege, you have different ways of raising it.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Acharia, we are not having a discussion on this subject.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN (BALASORE): Sir, the Minister has already suspended them. He has taken action against them. But instead of being happy, he is raising objections... (Interruptions)

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : You are not the Minister. I am talking, through the Chair, to the Minister.

I have nothing against the Minister as a person. But how can he afford to make a statement ignoring and suppressing the basic facts that they took some action against some officers? On my enquiry, he comes out. Is it being fair to the House?

SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : If he has done so, what is the harm? What would he have gained by suppressing the facts. He might have forgotten.

SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : He is not the Minister, Madam.

SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : I know, I am not the Minister. But I know that your intention just cannot be this.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA (BANKURA): We were told that the statement would be presented today. The statement was not made earlier when we raised the matter during Zero Hour. In spite of that, we had to wait up to a quarter to five o'clock for this statement. The incident took place on the early morning of 13th December. Today he is making a statement without full facts. He is suppressing the facts. This is a contempt of the House. When he is making the statement he should come out with full facts. What action has he taken against the officers? He should inform the House as to why he has suppressed the facts.

MR. CHAIRMAN :

HHe has made a statement which has been circulated. Shri Dasmunshi raised a question and asked whether he has suspended anybody. The Minister said yes, they have suspended three people.

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SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Shri Dasmunshi sought a clarification and asked a question whether anybody has been suspended. Then the Minister replied that some officers have been suspended. Why did he not say that at the time of making the statement? Why did he suppress that fact?

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA (SHIMOGA): With your permission Madam, I ask a simple question to the hon. Minister. When was those three officers suspended?

...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Everybody is agitated over this question. Let them make a mention of their view points for two minutes and we will finish it.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : When have they been suspended?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Acharia, you have asked your question. Please take your seat.

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA : I am posing only one question to the Minister. When was those three officers suspended? What are their names? Please answer this question.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The same question. That will be the end of it.

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that they were at fault, they were not on duty,

and they were not performing their duty properly, the authorities have suspended them.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The matter is closed.

SHRI ANIL BASU (ARAMBAGH): How can it be closed?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I cannot tell the Minister to change the inquiry here on the floor of the House.

THE MINISTER OF POWER (SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM): Let the preliminary inquiry report come. If necessary, we will change it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: He has said so. If necessary, they will then change it. Let him get the preliminary report and see what has happened.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The incident is so serious that there should be a judicial inquiry.

I would like to know whether he agrees to it or not. Please tell it today itself...(Interruptions)

SHRIMATI SANGEETA KUMARI SINGH DEO (BOLANGIR): Madam, I just want to make a submission. It is very unfortunate that such a tragedy has taken place and the life of a young child was snatched away...(Interruptions) Now, the hon. Members from the opposite are not interested in knowing the truth. It is very unfortunate. They are just trying to make accusations all the time and bulldozing the House...(Interruptions)

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... (ɴvx)

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MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Basu Deb Acharia, please sit down. The matter is closed now. We are having the next speaker to speak.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA : Who is running the Government - the Ministers or some Members of Parliament running the Government? The Minister is answering...(Interruptions) Some Members from that side are also answering. What is this? Let me know this first...(Interruptions)

SHRIMATI SANGEETA KUMARI SINGH DEO : When you are answering, we are also entitled to do it...(Interruptions)

MAJ. GEN. (RETD.) B.C. KHANDURI : Shri Bangarappa, you are a Member of Parliament. I am also a Member of Parliament...(Interruptions) You have expressed your views. I am not replying as a Minister. I am talking as a Member...(Interruptions)

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA : When a question is put to the Minister, another Member from that side has got up to answer to that. What is this?...(Interruptions)

SHRIMATI SANGEETA KUMARI SINGH DEO : When you are answering, we are also entitled to it...(Interruptions)


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