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Airports union calls off stir news
13 March 2008

Mumbai: The Airports Authority Employees Joint Forum has called off its nationwide agitation tonight following government assurances that no more airports would be closed down without consulting them.

The government also offered to strengthen the Airports Authority of India and make it more profitable.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel gave the assurance to employee union leaders M K Pandhe, Tapan Sen and Dipankar Mukherjee during talks lasting almost an hour.

The minister also assured the employees that modernisation of 35 non-metro airports would be undertaken with "full involvement" of the AAI and its employees.

The announcement of the withdrawal of the stir was made by forum convener M K Ghoshal after a separate meeting of the union leaders.

"We have decided to call off the strike with immediate effect because the minister has assured us to look into the issue," Ghoshal said.

The employees were protesting the government's decision to close existing airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad on completion of the new ones.

Employees also expressed concern over AAI's economic viability as profit-making airports like those in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, were either being privatised or the existing airports closed down to make way for new private-run ones. 
The union also said that once private operators take over operations, staff at the old airports could lose their jobs or could be forced to shift base.

The two-day 'non-cooperation movement' called by the union, however, had little impact on flights although it had affected sanitation, ground handling and other facilities at several airports.

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Airports union calls off stir