BJP, Cong spar as Port Blair airport ceiling falls days after Modi inaugurated | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

BJP, Congress trade barbs as part of Port Blair airport ceiling collapses days after PM Modi inaugurated it

Jul 24, 2023 04:36 PM IST

Pictures, videos shared online showed the collapsed false ceiling of the newly-built structure in Port Blair airport, sparking sharp criticism from Opposition.

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new integrated terminal building of Veer Savarkar International Airport in Andaman and Nicobar islands’ Port Blair, a portion of the ceiling fell off due to strong winds. Pictures and videos shared online showed the false ceiling of the newly-built structure hanging, sparking sharp criticisms from the Opposition.

Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair was built at a cost of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>710 crore adn was inaugurated on July 18. (Twitter)
Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair was built at a cost of 710 crore adn was inaugurated on July 18. (Twitter)

In a tweet, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh lamented that tax-paying citizens had to pay the price for the deplorable state of affairs in ‘New India’. Lashing out at Modi, he wrote, “The Prime Minister will inaugurate anything these days — even if it’s unfinished or substandard infrastructure (highways, airports, bridges, trains, etc). More than willing ministers anxious to boost their Sensex with him oblige.”

Read: PM Modi inaugurates ‘shell-shaped’ new terminal building of Port Blair airport tomorrow | In pics

Reacting to Ramesh’s post, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was present at the inauguration of the shell-shaped structure, clarified that the panels were deliberately loosened to install CCTV cameras and were fixed later. The BJP leader added that the damage occurred at a structure outside the terminal building. “Heavy winds (about 100 km/hour) later, led to the swinging panels as seen in the video. The false ceiling had been restored after completing the work," he tweeted.

He further advised Ramesh to just ‘seek an explanation’ instead of ‘jumping the gun and seeking sensationalism out of nothing’.

The Airport Authority of India, too, said in a Twitter thread that a part of the false ceiling in front of the ticketing counter collapsed due to gusty winds on Saturday after the same was loosened for final alignment of CCTV. The post mentioned that the false ceiling and other installations inside the airport building were intact.

“On the night of 22nd July, there was heavy wind, which uplifted the false ceiling from the bottom since the wind was not able to escape towards the ticketing counter area. Due to this, around 10 sqm of false ceiling became dislocated, but the same has been rectified. The false ceiling inside the terminal building is intact, and no damage occurred to any of the installations inside the terminal,” it wrote.

Read: What a township, a power plant, and an airport can do to an island

In a statement to news agency PTI, an airport official said that it was a ‘minor incident’. “The wiring for such (CCTV) cameras needs to be done behind the panels and there might be some fixing issues….the matter has been resolved.”

Built at a cost of 710 crore, Veer Savarkar International Airport is spread across an area of around 40,800 square metres and has the capacity to accommodate nearly 50 lakh passengers annually.

The new integrated terminal, which is yet to be made functional, was virtually inaugurated by Modi on July 18.

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