With rail and bus services disrupted owing to the ongoing jat agitation in Haryana, airlines have increased their fares rates manifold. Normal life was disrupted as protesters blocked highways and rail routes in several parts of Haryana.
Flights between Chandigarh and Delhi were much sought after as people stranded and desperate to get out of the city paid hefty amounts for the tickets. There were long queues of harried passengers at the city airport.
On Saturday, the price of one-way ticket between Chandigarh and Delhi ranged between Rs 20,000 and Rs 53,000. A total of seven flights of four airlines – Jet Airways, Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet – operate daily between two cities with fare ranging between Rs 4,000 and Rs 7,000 in routine. However, cashing in on the situation, all the airlines hiked their rates.
Till 6 pm on Saturday all direct flights between Chandigarh and Delhi for Sunday were full. Only a few business class seats in Chandigarh-Delhi flight of Jet Airways which goes via Mumbai were available at a whopping Rs 99,140.
Vinod Sharma, director of Venus Holiday Mart, said prices of all the airlines skyrocketed due to the ongoing agitation. People with no option had to pay high prices for the tickets.
Jasdeep Singh, an NRI, who had to catch a flight from Delhi to Los Angeles paid Rs 27,000 for the ticket. Ayush Dhiman, who landed in Delhi from London, was forced to go to Amritsar for which he paid Rs 45,000 and had to came to Chandigarh via road. Vinod Sharma said tickets for February 22 were being sold at prices up to Rs 30,000.
Jaimin, local station manager of SpiceJet, said the prices went high due to huge influx of traffic on Chandigarh-Delhi route and an additional flight also operated Saturday.
120 trains canceled
More than 120 trains in the Ambala division stood canceled/short-terminated for the second day. In all, across all regions 210 express/mail trains were canceled, and 317 passenger trains stood canceled on Saturday. Over 104 trains were diverted and 101 trains were short-terminated.
Key trains halting at the Chandigarh station that were canceled for Saturday included the Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi Express, the Chandigarh-Kalka Shatabdi Express, the Himalayan Queen, Chandigarh-Ajmer Garib Rath Express, Chandigarh-Jaipur Intercity Express, Paschim Express, Chandigarh-Yeshwantpur Sampark Kranti and Una-New Delhi Janshatabdi Express. The Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi started for Chandigarh around 12:30 PM, but was halted at Panipat and consequently returned to the NDLS station.
Among the canceled trains were: Shan-e-Punjab Express (12498) from Amritsar to Delhi, Amritsar-Delhi Swarn Shatabdi (12030), Hirakund Express (18508), Jammu Tawi-Tatatnagar Express (18102), Jhelum Express from Jammu-Tawi to Pune (11078), Jammu Mail from Katra to New Delhi(14034), Shri Shakti AC Express from Vaishno Devi to New Delhi (22462), Goa Sampark Kranti Express (12450), Hoshiarpur-Delhi Express (14012), Jammu Tawi Andaman Express from Katra to Chennai (16032), Ajmer-Kishangarh Garib Nawaz Express (15716).
The Northern Railways has also canceled around 100 trains Sunday and officials said it was difficult to estimate when the train services were to resume. Nearly 10 trains for Monday have also been canceled, including the Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi, Pathankot Delhi Express, Pune-Jammu Tawi Express and Sriganganagar-Howrah Toofan Express.
Till 4 pm Saturday, the Northern Railways had made a refund of over 18 lakh to the passengers whose trains have been canceled since Friday due to the Jat agitation in Haryana.
As the trains stood canceled, passengers tried commuting through Haryana Roadways buses, but as no online reservations were made available, a huge rush was seen at ISBT, Sector 17. According to the bus conductors, the link roads had been blocked by the agitators since Friday, however buses had not been stopped on the GT Road. “We are, however, not taking any responsibility if the buses get stopped on the way,” said Rahul, conductor of a private bus that made its way to Delhi on Saturday.
Out of any option to travel, many passengers also tried commuting through taxi services. According to Rustam Singh, a resident of Chandigarh who was traveling from Delhi to Chandigarh on Friday, “Due to trains being canceled, there was a huge rush at the Kashmere Gate bus stop. But late in the night, private taxis are willing to offer rides. That’s how I managed to reach Chandigarh.”
Bus, taxi services remain suspended
Bus service of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, Haryana Roadway, Himachal Pradesh Roadways and Haryana Roadways to Haryana remained suspended through the day.
Anshika and Radhika, both college students, who travel from Ambala Cantonment daily said,“We are stuck in the city and have no idea how we will go
Taxi operators in the Tricity did not operate on Chandigarh-Delhi route. Chandigarh Taxi Union president Harcharan Singh said several cabs that went to Delhi got stuck in parts of Haryana. Fearing threat to safety of passengers, Harcharan Singh said they would not ply on Chandigarh-Delhi route till the agitation is over.
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