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Wednesday, 03 May, 2017, 14 : 48 PM [IST]

Time for Introspection

anurag In an ambitious move to give a greater spurt to air travel growth the launch of the UDAN project is set to provide a serious fillip to commercial aviation in India. With a clever acronym, the ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik’ project aims to initially connect about 50 Tier-II and Tier-III towns to major hubs and cities. The reach of affordable air travel to the so far unconnected towns and cities is a quantum jump as far as aviation aims are concerned for an economy that is setting a forward looking and fast track target for itself.

For any development in any sphere the first requisite is a disciplined and orderly approach. The airline business has many dimensions and safety is a prominent concern. Recently the news about a lawmaker obstinately confronting an airline staff member and holding up a flight for a long time had hit the headlines. For probably the first time, the airline stood up to a VIP customer and threw the rule book at them. While many exhibited righteous indignation at the lawmaker’s conduct and demanded an end to VIP arrogance, it also calls for an acceptance of the fact that public discipline in travel still leaves much to be desired.

Witness the chaos at railway stations, bus depots and other spaces of transport. The desire to disregard etiquette and discipline is rampant at all levels. The VIPs are not the only ones to be held to account. The so called common denominator is equally or more to blame. When a society sanctions or accepts a certain type of behaviour, the privileged few exhibit it more aggressively.

Perhaps the time has come to shake up the lethargy in implementing some stricter terms of engagement. This is also not as difficult as naysayers might think. The metro rail stations exhibit a better response from the public. The public attitude is not ideal as in metros of European countries but it is not bad either. There is a discernible change visible. It only goes to prove that given a better service, the ‘common person’ will willing rise to the occasion. The only thing that remains is a serious, structured and authoritative implementation the rules.

The news that an updated version of unruly passenger rules is coming in is a positive development. There is also news, though unconfirmed, of a new force of young but retired uniformed personnel from defense services to be developed, which will be solely responsible for crowd control at transport hubs. This should be music to ears of conscientious citizens. The tourism industry should specially raise a toast to it as even small measures create a better product. The coming months will reveal if the optimism is not premature.

Anurag Yadav
Industry Expert
The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication
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