Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Marching orders of DGCA's chief !

In a very sudden development, the Civil Aviation Ministry gave marching orders to the DGCA chief EK Bharat Bhushan on Tuesday evening with immediate effect. The 1979 batch Kerala cadre IAS officer had  got six months extension just a week ago.

He handed over charges to Prashant Narain Sukul, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry, who would also be holding the position as an additional charge, they said.

There was no official word on the reasons for his removal, but there were speculation that DGCA notice to Kingfisher to ground its operation for breach of safety norms, may have led to his exit.  Mr. Bhushan had also issued notices to Air India and Kingfisher Airlines to pay dues to their employees.

As the Director General of Civil Aviation, he brought in stringent measures to prevent airlines from compromising on safety matters on account of their financial trouble.

He had bluntly told loss-making Air India and Kingfisher Airlines to pay up the employees’ dues. Both the airlines have defaulted on timely payment of salaries and allowances for several months. Mr. Bhushan had said that safety could be adversely affected by a demotivated staff, particularly a pilot, an engineer or a cabin crew if they were not paid their salaries and dues.

During his 20-month tenure as the head of the aviation regulatory body, 57-year-old he handled a series of major cases of flouting of aviation rules, including the fake pilots scam and fudging of records by flying schools.

Mr. Bhushan was actively involved in the Mangalore air crash investigation and had brought in big changes by computerising licensing examinations for pilots and engineers.

Ministry sources were tight-lipped on what prompted the sudden move.

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