Tribune News Service
Kolkata, July 4
Flight service to Kolkata from six major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, is being suspended from coming Monday for two weeks.
In a tweet, a spokesperson of the Kolkata Airport on Saturday said, “It is informed that no flights shall operate to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai & Ahmedabad from 6th to 19th July 2020 or till further order whichever is earlier. Inconvenience caused is regretted”.
The step follows request by the West Bengal Government to the Aviation Ministry to stop flights to Kolkata from the six above-mentioned cities plus Surat and Indore for two weeks in view of the rise in coronavirus cases in the state.
According to the state government, the spike is largely owing to COVID-19 infected people coming to the state from outside.
West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha recently wrote a letter to civil aviation secretary P S Kharola to stop operation of flights Kolkata from eight “high prevalence” cities.
“A large number of cases have been reported from people coming in the state from outside with infection. Government of West Bengal has decided to stop or curtail movement of incoming flights and trains into the State. Accordingly, I approach you with a request kindly not to schedule any flight to West Bengal from high prevalence places viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, lndore, Ahmedabad and Surat and to stop movement of flights from these cities to Kolkata for 2 weeks starting 6 July 2020”, Sinha wrote to Kharola.
The state government has also asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to stop flights from these locations to the two others airports of West Bengal located at Bagdogra (Siliguri) and Andal (Durgapur), respectively.
While asking for suspension of flight services from the eight cities mentioned in the letter, the Chief Secretary also wrote that flight services to West Bengal from the remaining Indian cities should also be restricted to once a week only.
It is not immediately known what the Civil Aviation Ministry is planning to do with regard to West Bengal government’s request for suspension of flight services to the state from Surat and Indore and reduction of the existing service to Kolkata from various locations to only one flight a week.
The country had resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25
While more than two hundred flights operated at Kolkata Airport daily in the pre-lockdown days, the number came down to daily 65 flights only after the airport re-opened with the easing of restrictions.
Civil Aviation Secretary Kharola wrote to Chief Secretary Sinha and reportedly spoke to him also yesterday for reconsidering the request on suspension on flights. But the state government was unrelenting.
West Bengal has also written to Railway Board to stop train service to the state from five locations having high prevalence of corona positive cases.
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