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Boeing 737 stuck in city road
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai
Residents of the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) are wondering how long it will take to remove a disused Boeing 737 that has been abandoned in a busy road. The decommissioned aircraft was being driven through the city at the weekend when the driver got lost and then abandoned the plane.
The Boeing used to belong to the private company Air Sahara. Some locals are angry that no action is being taken to move the plane. Others say it is a tourist attraction. It appears that after taking a wrong turn, the driver found himself facing a flyover that was too low for him to take the plane under. The driver has not been seen since and no-one is assuming responsibility for the 737.
Restaurant owner Ramji Thapar is one of the puzzled residents of the Chembur area of the city. He woke up Sunday morning to find the aircraft on a giant trailer abandoned on the road. "Saturday night I shut shop and go home and everything is fine," he told the BBC news website. "Sunday morning when I get here, this aircraft is here near my restaurant!"
The fuselage of the decommissioned aircraft, with the engine, wings and tail removed, was being taken by road to the capital Delhi late on Saturday night. Reports say it was supposed to be used at a flight training academy.
The plane has become the centre of attraction with people coming from all over the city to take a look. "I've been fascinated with planes and never seen one so closely," engineering student Vamsi Shastri said. "It's huge!"
His friend Ankur Rane said, "It's fascinating to see an airplane on the roads when one is only used to seeing cars and auto rickshaws." However, for Pradeep Malhotra, who runs a catering service in the area, the plane has become a huge problem because it is parked right in front of his shop.
"My work is suffering because the food cannot be loaded in the big vehicles," he said. "I have to load it in the smaller vans and then carry them to the bigger ones parked at the back. I don't know how they are going to take it out because you can't reverse it, its too big, and you can't go further down the road."
Some residents said they had not complained simply because they assumed that the authorities would be making it a priority to get the plane out of the city. Five days on, it is still not clear who is responsible for the aircraft and its transfer to Delhi.