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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ok, Horn, No Please But Fly !!

Team Being Cynical

Next time you decide to fly somewhere, you need to be more worried than ever. More so when there are no superstitious (read religious) paraphernalia anywhere in sight. The occasional ‘Buri Nazar Wale, Tera Muh Kala’ written on the tail of the plane or our ever so friendly Nimbu-Mirchi (would adjust with a pair of worn out Chappals even) dangling below the cockpit would stash away any incoming danger and make us a little relieved. But God only knows what these airline guys are up to and doing with the vast amount of money they are saving - alone from the little skirts they force their hostesses to wear (cost cutting on the money they otherwise had to spare if they had allowed Saree instead). Now I understand why AirIndia is in a financial mess. All the profit (if at all) they are making is going in to buy those utterly useless 170 yard Sarees for the Air-Hostesses. Now coming back to the topic – our airline guys can very well (in fact they should) afford fresh Nimbu-Mirchi to dangle below the cockpit, more so when they are least bothered about who is flying us – a pilot, or someone who pretends to be a pilot with a fake flying license in his/her hand.

The latest fake license scam unearthed by ‘Times-Now’ and the subsequent out of the world howling of Arnab Goswami on the clear and imminent danger, did beat the living daylights out of me at least (not sure about others). When I finally did managed to cool down myself a bit; I sat on my sofa (still Arnab howling on the TV in front) and thought – what corruption and nepotism this idiot is talking about? When there is corruption and nepotism everywhere in India, how can our skies be out of it? When we have thugs and crooks everywhere, what’s the big deal if we have few of them inside the cockpit? Hang-on; let me first pat my back for these marvelous questions. Jokes apart – the disturbing case of Garima Pasi is for certain a scary one. It is even scarier for regular fliers like me and million others. It becomes double scarier when one realizes that the odd finding of cases like Ms.Pasi is just the tip (even less) of the iceberg with a whole network of crooks working underground to supply thousands of such fake pilots to our skies.

Now take the curious case of the apprehended thug – Garima Pasi. As a small bio, she is still an operational commercial pilot with Spice-Jet. Now one can ask – what’s the crime in getting employed with Spice-Jet? Well nothing, if you are a qualified pilot, not a fake one. The girl in discussion was very unceremoniously kicked out from her flying school in USA. The reasons given were disturbing and funny, all at the same time. To begin with; the lady always had a fear of flying. She was a bad learner as after repeated training her landing was horribly hard (much beyond the limit acceptable by the airline industry). She failed in almost all her papers in her previous exams. So you must be thinking; these observations should have pretty much settled the lid on this girl’s flying career but hold on before you draw any conclusion - that is what never happened. Interestingly; after getting kicked out from her Alma-mater she landed in India and that too in a third graded flying academy somewhere in Dehradun. The same girl who returned red-faced from USA was promptly provided with a flying license within 120 days of her joining the new institute. Kind of miracle, if you want to put this phenomenal turnaround into words. Now let me tell you the trick – the girl in question have a father who happens to be a top official in DGCA (the premier aviation security watchdog in India). Am I clear on what I want to convey or need to elaborate further on this?

So this is where nepotism takes over human lives. A girl who is out rightly incompetent to fly is not only felicitated by one of those mushrooming aviation schools in India but also gets a flying license in no time; just because her father is a corrupt top official in DGCA. The federal organization which should ensure flyer’s safety is seen cuddling with incompetent morons and bringing relationship in-between, allowing the responsibility of the life of hundreds the girl would be flying, out of the window. If that is not enough, her father’s clout comes handy again and she gets employed by a premier budget airline of India – the Spice-Jet. So in this ladder of nepotism there are scoundrels everywhere, starting with the girl at the bottom and her corrupt father and the unethical airline at the top. As expected when the DGCA officials at Goa did finally complained about a bad landing by this lady to aviation security sell, all hell went lose. In no time the rot that is going inside our aviation industry is out there for the rest of the world to see. When the first thing that was expected was that of scrapping the license (forget that and get lost) of the said airline and someone who would own up the responsibility, is actually having a CEO who does possess an attitude which on milder terms can be elaborated as nonsensical and seems to have no respect towards the lives of his customers. No wonder he conveniently washed off his hands from this mess blaming entirely on DGCA for this fatal mistake. Good going – as we are again in a situation where the blame game would go in circles for ages without bringing anyone to task.

The underground investigation taken up by the same media house to expose the rot in our aviation industry is more disturbing. On anonymity one trainee pilot did confirmed the huge exchange of bribery and open corruption persistent in this sector. If the chap with his face blackened (intentionally) is taken seriously then at least 80% of the pilots that we currently have in our skies are fake or incompetent. So a little mathematics would confirm that at any point of time, there are at least 50000 lives in some serious danger because they are been flown by one idiot or the other who is not sure how exactly to fly. All that the idiot in the cockpit did to get the license is not to master the art of flying but the art of bribing the scoundrels at the DGCA to let his/her papers clear all hurdles. This is ridiculous to have such vultures at prominent and sensitive posts where a little mistake could easily lead to the death of hundreds. Who is watching and who can make sure that the rot would be cleaned sooner than later? As idiotic as any of our ministers can be, our new aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi did exactly what is expected from a responsibility shrugging and cunning politician – we are looking at the matter and I have ordered an enquiry into it. Thugs would be handed exemplary punishment. Good lord. Looking at this I feel we might just need an independent committee to keep a track of all such smaller committees that seems to be constituted on hourly basis.

As usual nothing going to happen and I am more than sure about it. Thugs would enjoy the clout of DGCA in turn DGCA scoundrels would enjoy the hobnobbing with the vultures of our aviation ministry and we would continue to pump in more incompetent bastards to fly us (read play with our lives). On the contrary, it is about time that we appreciate those who do have a flying phobia and prefer our Indian Railways instead. For the benefit of individual health I now see no harm in developing that phobia myself; provided that someone guarantees us that there is no such scam going when it comes to selecting our Railway drivers. Well you never know though!!

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