Sunday, January 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India






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BJP leaders, Akalis held up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, Jan 13 The weather played spoilsport, leaving BJP chief and senior Akali Dal (Badal) leaders and other passengers stranded at Indira Gandhi International Airport for several hours.

The BJP President, Mr Bangaru Laxman, the Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, a former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, and a SAD leader and Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, the Punjab Local Government Minister, Mr B.R. Tandon, and a former party general secretary, Mr Onkar Singh Thapar, and a member of the National Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, were stranded at the airport for more than four hours this morning.

The Akali and BJP leaders were on their way to Muktsar to address a public meeting marking the martyrdom of 40 persons at the historic town.

Mr Thapar told The Tribune that the leaders were scheduled to leave for Punjab around 10 a.m., but after waiting for two hours, they returned as airport officials did not clear the helicopter for take-off.

The thick fog resulted in the closure of the Delhi airport for six hours today, resulting in disruption in the flight schedule.

The airport was reopened later in the day as the weather improved.

The IGI airport was closed for seven hours each on Monday and Tuesday this week and for 11 hours on Wednesday.

The Airport Authority of India said the runway visibility was reduced to 300 metres, forcing the closure of the airport for flight take-off and landing.

Fog also affected rail traffic, with Northern Railway cancelling several trains because of poor visibility.

The trains cancelled include the Bathinda-New Delhi Intercity, New Delhi-Sriganganagar, Shramjivi Express and Gomti Express, the Railways said.

A number of trains were also rescheduled. They include the New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi and Mumbai, Kolkata and Guwahati Rajdhanis.
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