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Path of chaos at airport

BJP workers at the state hangar in Patna where Amit Shah landed on Tuesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Rules were thrown to the wind at the Patna airport on Tuesday when BJP president Amit Shah arrived from New Delhi in a chartered aircraft to take part in a party event.

Hundreds of BJP workers and supporters barged into the state hangar with flags, head bands and sirens to welcome their party president. Scores of four-wheelers and two-wheelers were parked just outside the state hangar gate, a no-parking zone. Not only had the party workers parked their vehicles in a prohibited zone, none of them paid the mandatory parking fee.

Shah was in the city to attend a function to release a book on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, besides offering prayers at Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib.

Even before the chartered plane landed at 11.09am, more than a hundred party workers and leaders had already assembled at the place, which is strictly off-limits to outsiders. The workers, waving party flags, even walked up to the aircraft parked in the hangar. Though a posse of policemen was present, none came forward to control the crowd; instead the policemen were themselves busy taking selfies and photographs with some BJP MLAs.

Over 100 BJP supporters who came riding on motorcycles or in SUVs, and were later part of the party brigade escorting Shah from the airport to Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib, also violated traffic rules as the majority of them were not wearing helmets. They had parked their vehicles all along the road from where one enters the airport premises, right through the barriers from where the people managing the counter give tokens to vehicles entering airport, to the gates of the state hangar, where parking is not allowed. A bunch of bikers even went up to the terminal area from where security personnel removed them.

As the vehicles were parked at the entry route of the airport, passengers entering the airport premises had a difficult time as did the people managing the barriers from where tokens are given.

An airport official said: "At times we feel helpless. The state hangar is a strictly prohibited area for any outsider. Though VIPs use state hangars for their journeys, others are not allowed entry. Even those using hangars are required to take permission from the state government. Only after clearance is given do we allow the helicopters to use the facility."

But overcrowding the security zone has become a regular feature whenever some VIP arrives, said a security official manning the police booth.

On December 28 last year, hundreds of RJD workers riding two-wheelers and four-wheelers had entered the airport premises without helmets and also without bothering to pay parking fees.

Patna airport director Rajendra Singh Lahouria said: "The area falling under the state hangar comes under the jurisdiction of the Bihar government and if any violation has occurred, the police should have looked into it."

The BJP defended its leaders and workers. Party MLC Lal Babu Prasad said prior permission had been taken from the cabinet secretary to enter the hangar.


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