New Delhi/Noida, December 30
It was a cold, foggy and smoggy Monday morning in the national capital and its suburbs with the minimum temperature at 2.6 degrees Celsius and thousands of people stranded as flights and trains were delayed with visibility dropping to zero metres in some places.
To make things worse, pollution levels were also high with Delhi’s air quality index at 448 at 9.38 am.
As a thick fog descended over the region, six people, including two minors, were killed when their car skidded off the road and fell into a canal in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida, apparently due to low visibility, police said.
Eleven people travelling in an Ertiga car were on their way to Delhi from Sambhal when the accident occurred.
“The car fell into the Kherli canal in Dankaur area. All 11 were taken to a hospital where doctors declared six of them dead, while the remaining five are undergoing treatment,” a police spokesperson said, adding that the accident appeared to have taken place due to low visibility caused by fog.
Heavy fog also disrupted flight operations at the Delhi airport with 20 flights diverted, four cancelled, and around 530 delayed till 12.52 pm, an official said.
Flights are operating at the airport under CAT III B conditions, which means the runway visual range (RVR) is between 50 metres and 175 metres.
Giving an update on flight operations at 12.52 pm, the official said 16 flights have been diverted and four cancelled as of now.
“Around 530 flights - which includes 320 departures as well as 210 arrivals approximately - have been delayed on Monday till 12.52 pm,” the official added.
In a statement, IndiGo airline said: “Owing to dense fog in north India our flights have been impacted across India. We will continue to review the situation and provide real time updates on our social platforms.”
The airline also requested passengers to check flight status before leaving home and reach out to its customer care.
Vistara airline said on Twitter that its Delhi-Mumbai flight UK933 as well as Mumbai-Delhi flight UK996 stands cancelled due to poor visibility in Delhi.
Vistara along with GoAir, SpiceJet, AirAsia India stated on Twitter that due to dense fog and poor visibility in Delhi, their flight operations might be impacted, and advised passengers to check flight status before leaving for the airport.
Train travellers were also hit due to the fog, marring year-end holidays for some and urgent travel plans for others.
Thirty trains were delayed by two to seven-and-a-half hours, according to a Railways official.
The Delhi-Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani was delayed by seven-and-a-half hours.
While some people went about their work, many decided to stay at home, peering out of their windows hoping to catch a glimpse of the sun through the blanket of fog.
The minimum temperature settled at 2.6 degrees Celsius at the Safdarjung observatory, four notches below the season’s average, and humidity was 100 per cent. At Palam, it was marginally better at 2.9 degrees Celsius, while it was colder at Lodhi Road (2.2 degrees Celsius) and Ayanagar (2.5 degrees Celsius).
The visibility recorded by the Safdarjung and Palam observatories stood at zero metres at 8.30 am. It was recorded at 100 metres at Safdarjung and zero at Palam at 5.30 am.
The intense cold, high humidity and low wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants leading to further deterioration in the national capital’s air quality.
The AQI was ‘severe’ in Delhi as well as in Ghaziabad (439), Faridabad (465), Noida (471) and Greater Noida (448). Gurgaon was relatively better off with an AQI of 344.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered good , 51-100 satisfactory , 101-200 moderate , 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor, and 401-500 severe. Above 500 is severe-plus emergency category. —PTI