A new controversy has erupted regarding how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee’s plane was low on fuel and was not allowed to land for 30 min. This issue could date back to her making a statement in New Delhi on 28th November that whether she dies or lives, she would remove PM Modi from Indian politics.
Just four days after this, her party the TMC cried that the conspiracy to eliminate the CM was already underway after it alleged that her flight from Patna back to Kolkata was made to circle around 30 minutes over Kolkata airspace even though it was precariously low on fuel. State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim who was the co-passenger in that flight was quoted by TOI as,
“This is nothing but a conspiracy to kill our chief minister as she has raised voice against demonetization and is touring the country to organize a mass movement against the anti-people decision.”
He further alleged that even though the pilot kept asking for permission to land he was repeatedly put on hold by the ATC officials.
Indigo today came out with a statement that Mamata Banerjee’s flight had more than the minimum fuel requirement and that it did a perfectly normal landing. Also the low fuel report emerged after the Kolkata ATC misunderstood the pilot. Indigo’s whole statement read as,
‘IndiGo flight 6E 342 from Patna and Kolkata made a normal landing at the Kolkata airport on Wednesday (November 30). The flight was kept on hold for landing due air traffic congestion at Kolkata. The pilot operating 6E-342 had advised the ATC that he has 8 minutes of extra holding fuel over Kolkata (destination) before commencing diversion to the planned alternate. However, this information was misunderstood by the air traffic controller who assumed that the aircraft had only 8 minutes of total fuel left. The misinterpretation of the information by ATC controller led ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at Kolkata airport. We would like to clarify – IndiGo captain at no stage declared a fuel priority or an emergency. Subsequently, the airplane made a normal landing at Kolkata airport 8.40 pm (Delayed by an hour due to congestion). The fuel on arrival was more than the minimum diversion fuel. There has been no violation or breech of any regulatory requirement in the above mentioned scenario.’
However the controversy looked far from being over after the TMC refusing to back down caused an uproar in the Rajya Sabha.
Uproar in Rajya Sabha over delay in West Bengal CM’s flight, TMC alleges conspiracy #WinterSession
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) December 1, 2016
As a response to all this, Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha today told the parliament that a probe by the DGCA was underway to as to how not one but three flights, Mamata’s, Spice Jet’s and Air India’s were reported to have been running on low fuel, while stressing that at no point the lives of passengers in those planes in any danger.
Also as put out in this article, the main reason the flight was made to circle in the first place was because of congestion issues and TMC in what may be a blatant case of VVIPism demanded that because the Bengal CM was on the Indigo flight, it should have received a priority landing.