The response to an RTI application by TNM claimed that in 15 instances, glass panels had been broken by “human intervention”.

Glass panels broke 41 times in 3 years but Chennai airport says majority was spontaneousT Shrinivasan
news Chennai Airport Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - 16:23

Out of 41 instances of glass panels falling and breaking at the Chennai International Airport, 15 were caused by “human intervention”, while 26 occurred “spontaneously”, an RTI response from the Chennai Airport authorities claimed.

In reply to an RTI application filed by The News Minute in July, the authorities stated that since the airport’s Rs 2,200-crore renovation in 2013, there were 41 instances of glass panels falling till August 29, of which 15 involved human intervention.

 “Human intervention is when passengers unknowingly break open the automatic doors or break the glass panels by hitting them with trollies,” Chennai Airport Director G Chandramouli told The News Minute.

While the RTI reply counted 41 instances of glass panels falling from 2013 to August 2016, media reports indicate that the number had already touched 60 by April. Some of these instances have also reportedly led to passengers and officials getting injured too.

The RTI reply also stated that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has not initiated an inquiry into the repeated instances of glass panels falling.

Last April, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and the AAI were served a notice by the National Human Rights Commission. In its response, the AAI had denied that there were any structural problems in the glass panels, and that any passengers had been injured by falling glass panels.  

Blaming media hype, the AAI used an IIT Madras report to state that the breakage of glass panels was caused by the inclusion of nickel of sulphate, which was a “normal phenomenon” and within industrial limits.

The latest instance of a glass panel falling was reported on December 20, at the departure terminal of the airport. On that occasion, there were no reports of injury caused due to the mishap.

Speaking to TNM on that occasion, Chadramouli had said that measures were in place to prevent glass panels from falling on people, including barricades to ensure that panels fall on a false roof.

 “The glass panels withstood 140kmph winds during Cyclone Vardah. The glass breaking has reduced considerably, however,” said Chadramouli.