NEW DELHI -- The Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) stayed a vociferous protest in Parliament on Thursday over IndiGo flight carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee being made to circle over Kolkata airport for 30 minutes while being short on fuel.
Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay told ANI, "It could have been at its extreme level. Today, when Union Minister Ananth Kumar telephoned me in the morning at about 7:30 a.m., then, I told him that Mamata Banerjee's aircraft was close to crashing yesterday. I told Ananth Kumar in detail that all other issues will be discussed later, but this issue I will take it up in the parliament today and a proper investigation is of utmost necessity. Today, I am going to attend the opposition parties meeting, where we will also raise this issue, and in the evening, when we will meet the honorable president, there we will report on this incident. We want to have proper security arrangements. All parties should ask for a proper investigation in the matter,"
Bandyopadhyay further said that when Mamata Banerjee's aircraft reached Kolkata from Patna on the Indigo airlines, it was not granted space for landing, as some other aircrafts where there. After 20 minutes, the pilot sent signal to the traffic control informing about fuel shortage and requested for emergency landing, but was not allowed.
"Ultimately, when the aircraft was allowed to land, then it was visible in and around, that fire brigade, ambulances...all were there, which normally takes place when any apprehension of an accident exists," Bandyopadhyay added.
Replying to the issue raised in Lok Sabha by the opposition with regard to the IndiGo flight carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not being allowed to land inspite of running short of fuel, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered inquiry as to how three flights reported that they were low on fuel.
"DGCA has ordered enquiry to check as to how the three flights reported low fuel, and it is wrong to say that the IndiGo flight was made to hover for 30-40 minutes. None of the pilots asked for emergency landing. Indigo should have carried extra fuel," Raju said.
In the Rajya Sabha, party MP Derek O'Brien also highlighted the risk factor to the West Bengal Chief Minister.
"When a pilot seeks landing and the plane is short on fuel, why was he denied?," O' Brien asked.
Reports said Mamata's flight from Patna on Wednesday night circled over Kolkata for nearly half an hour and as a result ended up being low on fuel.
Flight 6E 342 was scheduled to take off from Patna at 6.35 p.m. but departed at 7.25 p.m. It reached Kolkata around 8.15 p.m., but had to circle till 8.40 p.m. and then was allowed to land.
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