Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
By Neha Sen
Delays and cancellation of flights are passé. The new danger lurking in the skies are ‘pilots’ who have exchanged their passenger seat for a seat in the cockpit. And like everything else, all you need is a pocket full of pelf and a set of corrupt officials with power in their hands: power to pass forged mark sheets of incompetent pilots as genuine and power to put your life in the hands of those who accord little value to it.
Having caused damage to the aircraft on previous occasions too due to her wrong landing techniques, Indigo pilot Parminder Kaur Gulati did not realise the repercussions of making a rough landing at the Goa airport on 11th January 2011 till the time the law caught up with her (she was arrested on March 8). Gulati’s case forced the Directorate General Of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to sit up and take note of the skills and competencies of the people they recognize as pilots.
40 flying schools and 4000 licenses are under the scanner. One such flying school which failed the test is the now defunct Rajasthan Flying School whose ‘qualified students’ boast of 40-50 hours of flying experience as against the mandatory 250 hours. These dedicated students took to the skies even on those days when the aircraft was grounded for maintenance work (according to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Rajasthan report) and then decided to take DGCA, airlines and the passengers for a ride.
At the last count, 13 people were arrested, including 3 DGCA staffers – Pradeep Kumar, Mahan Jyoti Bhattacharya and Mohammed K Ansari – for their involvement in the scam.
The measure of human life in terms of monetary value is the reason why this gross violation of duty was tolerated for so long. As such, the DGCA and airlines must take precautionary measures rather than just punitive ones, else the Dhaka Stock Exchange won’t be the only thing crashing.