Saturday, August 17, 2013

Drunk on duty, airport agency staffers sacked

KOLKATA: Never mind if bars were shut on Independence Day. Two employees of Impressions, the Delhi-based facility management firm that is responsible for maintaining Terminal 2 at Kolkata airport, converted a corner of the snazzy terminal into a cozy lounge to enjoy a drink.

The cheeky duo had even covered the nearby CCTV camera with a piece of cloth to avoid being detected, but was unlucky to be spotted by a hawk-eyed Jet Airways pilot who happened to be walking by for an early morning flight from Delhi. Following the insistence of the captain, who also happens to be the chairman of the Airlines Operators' Committee in Kolkata, Airports Authority of India (AAI) was forced to press for action against the two. Impressions sacked them on Friday afternoon.

It was around 1.45am on Friday. Captain Sarvesh Gupta was on his way through the terminal with his co-pilot when he spotted two men hanging around in a corner. Mindful of the stories that were going around of a supervisor reporting on night shift duty after having alcohol, Gupta decided to walk close by to check if there was indeed something fishy.

"When we were close to the duo, I could distinctly smell alcohol in the air. I asked my colleague if he smelt something and he confirmed it was alcohol. When I asked if they had had a drink, the supervisor denied it outright. I asked him to exhale but he inhaled instead. That confirmed their guilt and I called in the CISF personnel to restrain them while word was sent out to the airport manager," Gupta recounted.

Sensing that they were in trouble, the two admitted to the airport manager that they did have a small peg each. The manager was about to let the two walk away after a rebuke when Gupta insisted that proper action be taken against them. He even called the Jet Airways health officer to bring in the breath analyzer so that their guilt could be conclusively proved.

Realizing that the pilot meant business, the manager had the duo escorted to his office, got a breath analyzer test done and reported the positive result to airport director B P Sharma the next day. The latter took up the matter with Impressions, making it implicitly clear that they would not be entertained in the airport. On Friday afternoon, Impressions terminated their services.

Gupta said he has since received a couple of anonymous calls, asking him to recall the complaint so that the two men can be reinstated. Dismissing the threat, the AOC chief said he was glad the airport officials had acted promptly and dismissed the truant housekeeping staff members in 12 hours.