Overspending, apathetic attitude ails civil aviation industry: CAG

Three main agencies of civil aviation come under scanner after latest report of CAG questions the failure to commence important security projects and purchase of aircraft that lie unused

The three pillars of the country's civil aviation industry are in the dock after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has put their performance under a microscope and questioned their abilities.

In the dock: The office of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Securities at
Sahar is facing the heat over the non-commencement of the Civil
Aviation Security Training Academy (CASTA), 13 years after it was
proposed. pic/Suresh KK

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Securities (BCAS), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) are facing the heat after the CAG has raised several issues including the non-commencement of important projects and overspending on aircraft that lay unused.

The auditor in his report (copy available with MiD DAY), raised the issue of the apathetic attitude of BCAS officials and their failure to start the Civil Aviation Security Training Academy (CASTA), 13 years after it was proposed. The CASTA proposal was raised following the hijack of the Indian Airlines flight in 1993 and the proposal to start such an agency was passed in December 1996 with an allocation of Rs 16.87 crore. After a large discussion, the ministry had decided that the academy would be set up at Netaji Nagar in Delhi and Rs 2.65 crore was additionally released for the same. However, the proposal remained in limbo till 2005.

Similarly, the construction of the office of regional deputy commissioner of security (RDCOS) at Mumbai, which was approved by the ministry in 2003, did not commence till January 2010.

As CASTA never saw the day of light, the design was merged into the Indian Aviation Academy under the aegis of the National Institute of Aviation Management & Research Society. The new body provides training to employees of Airports Authority of India (AAI), Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and BCAS under one roof. "Our institute conducts special training courses for, DGCA, AAI and BCAS," said Dinesh Kumar, director training, NIAMAR.

B B Dash, Joint Commissioner BCAS, said, "I am not aware of CASTA. As per my knowledge the existing institute is the Indian Aviation academy, which offers special training."

The CAG report also raised questions about the DGCA's decision to purchase 11 Hansa trainer aircraft from National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) at the cost of Rs 6.10 crore for various government flying clubs. The CAG report questions why the aircraft that were bought have remained unutilised. When MiD DAY asked Joint Director, DGCA, A K Sharan, he refused to comment on the issue and said, "I am not aware of this issue as I am not dealing with the same." Meanwhile, the DG of DGCA E K Bharatbhushan remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation was also questioned about not providing proper justification for certain amounts as Haj subsidies.

The CAG questioned MOCA over the amount of Rs 51.34 crore and Rs 125.77 crore that were paid to Air India during 2002-2006 for Haj subsidies without providing any proper justification to do so. Despite several attempts to contact the minister of civil aviation, he remained unavailable for comment.

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