Lost and Found: A Journey Through MBB Airport Management

By Dr. Bankim Debbarma

April 27, 2024

On April 14, 2024, the first day of Bengali Nababarsha, one of my friends was set to depart for Delhi to start a new job. As planned, the four of us headed to Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport to see him off. We left in a friend’s car around 1:15 pm and arrived at the airport by approximately 1:40 pm. Since his flight was at 3:30 pm, we decided to grab some tea/coffee at the cafeteria in front of the airport. My friend who was going to Delhi and I sat at one table in the cafeteria, while the other two friends went to the counter inside to order coffee and sandwiches. At that moment, I removed my glasses and placed them on the table, taking some selfies with my mobile phone and sharing them with my friend who was leaving.

After a while, our friends brought coffee and sandwiches to the table. However, as sunlight was coming through the cafeteria window, we decided to shift to another empty table. Minutes later, we left the cafeteria and proceeded to the departure gate to bid farewell to our friend. As we left the airport and approached Agartala, I suddenly realized that I had left my glasses behind in the cafeteria. We rushed back to the airport, but our car was stopped by police due to security reasons, as the Home Minister of the country was visiting the state for an election campaign.

Leaving one friend in the car, another friend and I went to the cafeteria and inquired at the counter about my missing glasses. Despite checking with staff and attempting to view CCTV footage, we found no trace of it. Disheartened, we left our contact information with the cafeteria staff and decided to return the next day after 11:00 am.

On April 15th, my friend who had accompanied me to search for the glasses called me around 9:00 am, expressing frustration at the situation. We decided to file a complaint with the Ground Manager and lodge an FIR at the Airport Police Station. Despite multiple attempts to reach the cafeteria’s counter boy, Subrata, there was no progress. We prepared two letters as planned and prepared to go to the airport.

Upon reaching the airport, we attempted to meet with the cafeteria manager. However, the counter boy was hesitant to provide information about the manager’s whereabouts. After much persistence, we learned that the manager’s name was Usha Ranjan. The manager refused to take responsibility and claimed the CCTV wasn’t working. Frustrated, we decided to escalate the matter to the Ground Manager of the Airport.

Despite our efforts, we faced resistance from officials, who directed us to the Airport Director’s office. We filed a GD Entry at the Airport Police Station and finally managed to speak with Terminal Manager Smita Praksh Madam. However, she declined to accept our complaint letter, stating it was outside her jurisdiction.

After a long wait, Madam agreed to contact the cafeteria’s caretaker. However, despite our efforts, we felt disillusioned with the airport management’s response. We returned home with a sense of disappointment.

Later that evening, I received a call from an unknown number, which turned out to be Smita Madam, the terminal manager. She informed me that my glasses had been found and asked for a photo to confirm ownership. After verification, I was instructed to collect my glasses the next day.

On April 16th, I collected my glasses and expressed gratitude to Smita Madam. However, upon exiting, I was charged a parking fee despite spending only a few minutes inside. This raised questions about transparency and fairness in parking charges at the airport. I paid the fee and returned home, reflecting on the entire experience and the need for improved airport management practices.

The author is a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Commerce at MBB College.

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