No VIP red-light for passengers’ movement, please.

While there is no denying that security arrangements and protocols are essential for VVIPs and VIPs like President, Prime Minister and judges, it is a fact in the past their movements were few are far between. The ever increasing flow of VVIP traffic has compounded the miseries of common passengers.




Representational Image. Photo credit: Deccan Chronicle.

–Shams Khan

The video of a woman shouting at Union Minister K J Alphons which went viral represents the growing resentment against the prevalence of VIP culture in the country. The young woman’s repeated pleas to the minister to arrange for her immediate departure so that she could reach Patna at the earliest to attend her nephew’s funeral, for being a doctor she knows the body will decompose, symbolises the desperation that such practice evokes in public with the system.

The episode took place at Imphal airport on Wednesday from where the postgraduate student at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal, Manipur had to take a flight for Kolkata in order to fly to Patna. The woman’s flight was delayed owing to the security arrangement for President Ram Nath Kovind who along with other dignitaries were visiting Manipur capital.

Media report said that some flights were seen hovering for about half an hour around the airport because of the arrival of the President’s chopper as well his return journey around noon.

According to passengers, flights were delayed for around two hours.

While there is no denying that security arrangements and protocols are essential for VVIPs and VIPs like President, Prime Minister and judges, it is a fact in the past their movements were few are far between. The ever increasing flow of VVIP traffic has compounded the miseries of common passengers.

Gone are the days when chief minister of a state would visit the national capital three or four times in a year and President and Prime Minister would rarely travel to the different part of the country. Even election rallies in the past used to have been a low key affair with the main campaigner, that is the PM, would address a couple or so rallies in each state. But gradually the number of VVIP movement increased astronomically. They would even lead road-shows.

Now, MP’s attending parliament sessions would fly back to their home state every Friday evening and return on Monday morning. If they do not get flight, they would opt for premier trains such as Rajdhani or Shatabdi. The common passengers are made to suffer.

One example will be enough to understand the situation. On May 21, 2000, a group of MPs from Bihar forced the pilot of the Indian Airlines plane to skip Lucknow and bring the flight directly to Patna. The pilot had to oblige as he got order from the top. The civil aviation minister in that Vajpayee government was Sharad Yadav.

Incidentally, The Telegraph was the only news paper which made this a lead story though; it then had no edition from Patna. The passengers of Lucknow felt cheated as they reached their destination late in the night.

The scene created by the Shiv Sena MP, Ravindra Gaikwad on March 23 last inside a private airline is another brazen example of passenger suffering because of the VIP’s behavior. What is more is that he was not apologetic but boasted that he had done so.  Not only has VVIP movements increased manifold even their security arrangements have become very tight. Barricading of roads, bullet-proof cars, long fleets of cavalcade etc. cause enormous problem to

The people wherever they go. Sometimes schools and colleges are closed and roads leading to hospitals are blocked for clearing the traffic for VVIP’s.

As if that is not enough the phenomenon of smog/ fog has greatly hampered movements of planes and trains. Yet, one seldom hears about delay in take-off and landing of VVIPs plane.

Hence, if the recent removal of beacons from vehicles and Prime Minister Modi’s coinage, EPI, that is Every Person is Important, is followed strictly, curb can be imposed on such culture.

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