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KOCHI: Kerala distributor of thermal-massaging machines, made by South Korea-based Ceragem, has approached the Kerala High Court questioning an unofficial ban allegedly imposed by Thiruvananthapuram district administration. The petition was filed b KOCHI: Kerala distributor of thermal-massaging machines, made by South Korea-based Ceragem, has approached the Kerala High Court questioning an unofficial ban allegedly imposed by Thiruvananthapuram district administration.   The petition was filed b

Jan-20-2015 | 0 Comments

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KOCHI: A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed before the Kerala High Court on Monday questioning Air India's decision to cancel a direct flight operating between Bahrain and Thiruvananthapuram.

The PIL was filed by Puliyot Aboobacker of Naduvannur in Kozhikode, who is working at Manama in Bahrain at present. Air India had been operating the flight since 2004 but decided to cancel it, allegedly without hearing any stakeholders, in 2012, the petition filed through advocate Kaleeswaram Raj said.

Unlike the private airlines operating in and out of the Gulf region, Air India used to sell tickets at competitive prices and thus had been the lifeline of passengers. On a daily basis, 1000-1200 passengers used to travel from Bahrain to Thiruvananthapuram and vice versa. Thiruvananthapuram is the air hub to five districts in Kerala and four districts in Tamil Nadu. Despite the existence of such huge demand, the service was cancelled without any explanation, the PIL said.

Air India's Bahrain-Thiruvananthapuram service was the only direct flight in the route and the cancellation has increased the hardships of passengers, especially those who are sick, the petition stated. It is also pointed out that Air India used to charge only Rs1.2 lakh for shifting a bedridden person in the route whereas other providers charge around Rs5.1 lakh.

Services such as transportation of dead bodies used to be provided either free of cost or at a nominal rate by Air India in the route with the support from the Indian Embassy. Charges for postponement of journey was also charged only at half the rate of private airline operators, the petition said.

Termination of the service by Air India has led to skyrocketing of air fares of other operators in the same route, the petitioner alleges. Ticket rates have been increased up to Rs25,000 per person for a round trip journey, which is a 150 per cent jump in air fare. Thus, the approximate loss to Indian passengers per year due to the cancellation ranges from Rs547.5 to Rs657 crore, the PIL claimed, while alleging that the cancellation was to favour private airline operators.

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