By bappaditya paul
The retiring rooms proposed for passengers at Kolkata’s N S C Bose International Airport new terminal are yet to be ready even as it is nearing two months since the terminal was made fully operational.
As a result fliers landing at the airport with connecting flights to catch are facing immense hardship; they are required to walk almost half a kilometre to access the existing retiring rooms located at the airport’s old international terminal building.
The new passenger terminal made fully operational on 15 March has provisions for 23 retiring rooms at arrival level. They are located at the arrival level mezzanine floor between the visitor’s area and security-hold; there is a stair and a lift aligned along gate number 3-C for accessing them.
A visit to the new terminal yesterday revealed that none of the 23 retiring rooms is ready yet ~ the ceiling, flooring and wall plaster works have not moved an inch, leave aside the furnishings. The airport management until now has only completed work for the attached washrooms. “If the work is expedited, still it would take at least two more months to make the rooms ready for occupancy,” said an official supervising the job.
N S C Bose Airport director, Mr B P Sharma, said they were in the process of commissioning the retiring rooms but he would not commit a specific deadline. “We’re in the process of awarding the tender for running the retiring rooms; the rooms will be handed over to some five-star hotel management who will operate them on lease,” Mr Sharma said.
The airport director said that in view of the delay, they were still running the old retiring rooms so that passengers were not inconvenienced. Located on the first floor of the old international terminal, there are six double-occupancy retiring rooms and a 14-bed dormitory that are allotted to transiting passengers for a charge ~ Rs 1,500 for a room and Rs 700 for a dormitory bed.
But the issue is that to access them, one has to walk almost half-a-kilometre from the new terminal. The distance is not long enough so cabs do not agree to ferry passengers and rickshaws are not allowed on the airport campus unless there’s a strike.
“Last week there was an occasion when a flier who landed here in the evening and had an early morning flight to catch had booked a retiring room in the old building. But he returned midway saying he felt scared to walk the distance; he spent the entire night sitting in the new terminal passenger lounge,” an airport official said accusing the management of being insensible to such plights.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 9 May 2013.)