M A I N   N E W S

Fog brings life to a standstill
50 flights delayed, 23 trains cancelled
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, January 3
Dense fog in North India played havoc with movement of flights and trains for the second successive day today, with Delhi being the worst hit.

Flight operations at the IGI airport began smoothly on a relatively clear morning today, but were affected later in the day, as over 50 international and domestic services were delayed and about 15 were cancelled.

The runway visibility was recorded at 2,000 metres for the main runway and at 1,600 metres for new runway this morning.

Visibility had fallen to 125 metres yesterday, against the minimum 150 metres required for a flight to take off or land.

“There was fog around midnight but it started clearing by early morning which helped us resume the operations,” said an airport official.

Today, as many as 40 domestic flights were delayed, while 12 flights of SpiceJet, Jet Airways and Kingfisher airlines to Amritsar, Leh, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Srinagar and Kolkata were cancelled either due to bad weather conditions or other operational reasons. Some international flights were delayed by up to three hours around midnight due to fog as the runway visibility was less than 150 metres.

Airlines were finding it difficult to maintain the schedule, which went haywire yesterday due to dense fog and glitch in the cable of runway visual range measuring instrument leading to a halt in air operations for over eight hours. The foggy conditions also led to cancellation of 23 trains, largely due to delay in running of corresponding trains.

Besides, 42 Delhi-bound trains are also running late inordinately, a railway spokesperson said, adding that the failure in the  northern power grid late last night also led to the delay.

“When the train arrives late, its departure invariably gets late. Because of the weather, extra precautions are needed. Sanitation and mechanical checks among other things take up a lot of time. Long distance trains need more attention,” added the official elaborating on the train delays.

“Thankfully, yet no case of cracked tracks has come to notice, which is one of the most common fallouts of extreme cold weather,” he added.

Among the cancelled trains were Magadh Express, Gomti Express, Lichchavi Express, Shan-e-Punjab Express, Seemanchal Express and New Delhi-Jalandhar Express among others.

Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 9.5 degrees Celsius and maximum temperature around 15 degrees Celsius. “The reducing gap between the minimum and maximum temperature in the city is the main reason for the chill. It will continue for the next few days. The fog is also likely to hover for a next couple of days,” an official of the Meteorological Department said.

At least 10 persons were killed and 39 injured in three separate accidents yesterday involving five passenger trains in Uttar Pradesh amid dense fog and near zero visibility conditions.

A Chandigarh report said a number of trains passing through Punjab and Haryana were running late between 1-8 hours while poor visibility hampered movement of vehicular traffic.

Fog continued to engulf the region throwing normal life out of gear. All incoming and outgoing flights from Chandigarh were cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the authorities suspended traffic on the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, this afternoon owing to slippery conditions caused by heavy snowfall, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.— PTI



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