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Govt invokes ESMA against striking airport employees news
11 March 2008

Airports Authority of IndiaNew Delhi: Gearing itself to meet the upcoming agitation by Airports Authority of India employees from Tuesday night, the government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against employees of the organisation. It has also positioned 479 Indian Air Force personnel at 21 airports across the country to deal with any contingency in the wake of the proposed agitation.

The Airport Authority Employees Joint Forum has announced it will launch an indefinite "non-cooperation movement" from Tuesday midnight following government's rejection of their demand not to close Bangalore and Hyderabad airports.

"Delhi government has invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act at the Indira Gandhi International airport here. It is already in operation," KN Srivastava, joint secretary civil aviation ministry, said.

"I hope the unions know about large number of directives issued by Delhi High Court. I hope the unions remember these. We hope we will be able to control the situation and expect normal air services on Wednesday," he said, adding the management and the unions are still discussing the matter.

Meanwhile, Government may also invoke a 1984 law, which empowers officers of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to arrest those who sabotage functioning of fire services, power and water supply and endanger safety and security of the airport. Srivastava dropped broad hints to such an effect.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force moved 479 personnel to 21 airports, including major airports at New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore to deal with the situation. 

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Govt invokes ESMA against striking airport employees