ANI Photo | “Lost in world of thesaurus”: Scindia hits back at Tharoor over criticism on Delhi airport chaos; debunks claims

Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia countered Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s criticism on Wednesday concerning the recent chaos situation at Delhi airport triggered by dense fog and bad weather conditions and said that the latter is lost in his ‘esoteric world of thesaurus’.
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport plunged into chaos on Monday as dense fog disrupted flight operations, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded for hours.
Taking to social media platform X, Shashi Tharoor labelled the situation as a ‘ModiGovt-made disaster’ and alleged that it was a result of the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s neglect and incompetence while inviting Scindia’s attention.
Union Minister Scindia disputed claims of inadequate research and misinformation, providing detailed insights into runway maintenance, pilot training, and passenger rights.
“It is for someone who is lost in his esoteric world of thesaurus that data mining of selective press articles from the internet qualifies as “research”. Here are some facts for arm-chair critic @ShashiTharoor and the Cong IT Cell that might help tackle their lack of depth in understanding of technical sectors like civil aviation,” Scindia said while replying to Tharoor’s post on Wednesday.
Scindia further clarified that runway maintenance work, critical for passenger safety, was delayed due to pollution incidents and the enforcement of GRAP-IV in Delhi.
He highlighted the crane operation’s impact, revealing it would be allowed only on non-fog days.
“Runway maintenance work is a critical safety element for aviation operations, and any compromise with runway conditions directly jeopardizes passenger safety,” Scindia said.
“As a result, the maintenance was taken on top priority to be completed by December 15 before the onset of the fog season. However, due to pollution incidents, and enforcement of GRAP-IV in Delhi, the recarpeting got delayed, resulting in a delay of one month in its commissioning. The revamped RWY is getting operational this week,” he asserted.
Further responding to Tharoor’s claims on trained pilots, accusing the Ministry of Civil Aviation and DGCA of failing to ensure airlines have trained pilots, Scidina pointed out a significant increase in CAT-II/CAT-III trained pilots over the years.
Tharoor claimed, “It did not even ensure that pilots planning to fly to Delhi during fog conditions were CAT III-B trained. Therefore, multiple flights were diverted to cities like Jaipur and Ahmedabad.”
While countering his claims, Scindia said, “On sufficiently trained pilots, your claim is incorrect and baseless, as usual! As compared to only 2416 CAT II/CAT III trained pilots in 2014, today we have 6191 CAT II/CAT III trained pilots which is a jump of 2.5 times in the last 9 years.”
“Further, in preparation for the fog season of 2023-24, due to our efforts, the number of CAT II/CAT III trained pilots have grown by 16 per cent in the last three months alone from 5332 to 6191,” Scindia said.
“Regarding CAT III operations, Scindia explained the dependence on runway, aircraft, and pilot capabilities. He compared the Delhi Airport’s CAT III capability to JFK airport in the USA, emphasizing the differences in minima,” he added.
The Union Minister further emphasized DGCA’s strict regulations and recent show-cause notices to Spicejet and Air India for violations.
“Also, the DGCA mandates airlines to deploy CAT IIIB-compliant aircraft only with qualified crew during the winter season. Any violations are strictly dealt with by the regulator, DGCA. For instance, show cause notices were issued to Spicejet and Air India,” he added.
In his post on X, Tharoor also blamed the Civil Aviation Ministry as well as the DGCA for not enforcing basic passenger rights, adding that the authorities were completely unable to manage the situation or keep passengers comfortable and updated.
Scindia acknowledged the unacceptable treatment of passengers, issuing show cause notices and implementing SOPs for better communication.
“The treatment meted out to the passengers in the instant case was unacceptable, and we have acted immediately in the form of a show cause notice to the concerned operators. Further, SOPs for better communication to passengers were also issued. Implementation is being monitored thrice daily,” he said.
“Corrective action is underway as we speak. Rest assured that any laxity in this regard will be meted with zero tolerance,” he said.
Further reacting to Tharoor’s criticism over passengers’ rights, Scindia defended amendments made by DGCA to civil aviation requirements (CARs) implemented during the UPA rule.
The Union Minister countered with claims about fines being imposed on airlines for not adhering to DGCA guidelines since 2022.
“CARs implemented during the UPA rule in 2010 were, as expected, inadequate for enforcing passenger rights and had to be amended multiple times by the DGCA to incorporate provisions for safeguarding passenger rights!” Scindia said.
“Further, the DGCA keeps a strict watch on passenger complaints regarding mistreatment and penalizes operators if found guilty. For instance, since 2022, airlines have been imposed with fines for not providing passenger amenities as per the DGCA guidelines,” he added.
He also highlighted the NDA government’s achievements in the sector while criticising the previous UPA rule.
“Airlines that shut shop/were brought to failure during the UPA rule = Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Air India. Under the NDA govt, along with Akasa, 5 new regional airlines have taken birth under the PM’s UDAN vision,” he said.
“Fleet size has increased from 400 in 2014 to 730 today, and will reach 1,500 – 2,000 by 2030. Airports have doubled from 74 in the last 65 years to 149 today. This will reach 220 in the next 3-4 years. Hope you are better informed now, Mr @ShashiTharoor !,” Scindia added in his post on X.
Earlier, Delhi witnessed unprecedented fog conditions, with visibility dropping to as low as ‘zero’, hampering flight movement to and from the IGI airport on Monday. Over 600 flights, including both domestic and international, were affected, as per airport officials

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