GVK says long queues for women is the Central Government’s Central Industrial Security Force's (CISF) responsibility and that stinking toilets are 'regularly monitored' for cleanliness
Last week when Dolly Thakore, noted TV anchor, dramatist and social crusader reached Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, she stood in a serpentine queue along with many other women as there was just one channel for security checks while for men there were six or seven of them.
Thakore faced a similar problem at the Jaipur Airport, and found this discrimination unfair. She shot off a letter to GVK, the private agency that is in a Private-Public Partnership with the government to run Mumbai Airport, requesting it to address this issue promptly. Thakore wrote to the Airport Terminal Manager, “While GVK has brought about transformation in comfort, convenience and sophistication of air travel, it seems to have ignored the New Woman on the move...at every airport there is only one Security Check for women and the queues are endless, while there are 6 or 7 such for men. It is time the Airport authorities recognised the woman on the move. Would appreciate a response and prompt action please. Her letter also raised the issue of inefficiently maintained women's toilets. “Could washroom staff be more alert and available at all times to maintain standards,” her letter added.
In response, an unnamed person by the name of “Team - Customer Service & Quality” replied that it is the job of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and that they have shared her feedback with them. The letter of this anonymous officer states, “As you are aware that processes like Security at all Indian Airports are handled by the CISF, We have shared your feedback with the CISF, alternatively you may directly write to them at [email protected]. All passenger feedback pertaining to them are shared with them for improvement in their services. Our management regularly conveys meetings with these agencies to ensure all processes are streamlined and minimize passenger inconvenience.’’
The moot point is, if “passenger inconvenience” is their priority, are they blind to the fact that women stand in endless queues? Also, if the management is holding regular meetings, did they need a citizen to bring this inconvenience to their notice? Like most Public-Private-Partnerships, GVK too seems to be shrugging off the responsibility of passenger inconvenience by pointing to the government authority, in this case, the CISF.
As for the women’s toilets and their appalling state, the anonymous officer of Team- Customer Service & Quality casually replied, “We would also like to inform you that our housekeeping team regularly monitors cleanliness of washrooms as well as the entire terminal building at all given points. However they have been briefed to be more vigilant while on duty and to increase the frequency of the washroom checks to ensure cleanliness is maintained round the clock.’’ Anyone who has visited CSIA Airport is aware of the dirty toilets ever since the Airport has had a grand makeover. Is it enough for GVK to merely “brief” the attendants to be more vigilant?
Finally, as if rubbing salt in the wounds, the anonymous officer signs off “Our Vision for CSIA: To be one of the World's best airports that consistently delight customers and be the pride of Mumbai.’’
Letter by CSIA to Dolly Thakore
Dear Ms. Thakore,
Greetings from CSIA, Mumbai!
This is with reference to your feedback with us received through email dated 24/12/2014 regarding your experience at CSIA.
At the outset, please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused to you during your journey through Mumbai Airport. We understand your concerns and appreciate that you have brought them to our notice. As you are aware that processes like Security at all Indian Airports is handled by CISF, We have shared your feedback with CISF alternatively you may directly write to them on [email protected].
All passenger feedback pertaining them are shared with them for improvement in their services. Our management regularly conveys meetings with these agencies to ensure all processes are streamlined and minimize passenger inconvenience.
We would also like to inform you that our housekeeping team regularly monitors cleanliness of washrooms as well as entire terminal building at all given points. However they have been briefed to be more vigilant while on duty and to increase the frequency of the washroom checks to ensure cleanliness is maintained round the clock.
Our Vision for CSIA: To be one of the World's best airports that consistently delights customers and be the pride of Mumbai
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
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