Punjab: Flight ops in Amritsar hit, farmers not allowed in fields across border fencehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/city-others/punjab-flight-ops-in-amritsar-hit-farmers-not-allowed-in-fields-across-border-fence-5603955/

Punjab: Flight ops in Amritsar hit, farmers not allowed in fields across border fence

Flights operations were declared as ‘resumed’ in the afternoon, but on the ground the last flight that take off from Amritsar was of an Air India flight for Delhi at 11 am, and after that no flight landed or took off from Amritsar through the day.

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Passengers outside the Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport in Amritsar. (Rana Simranjit Singh)

Commercial operations at Sri Guru Ramdas Amritsar airport were suspended Wednesday morning causing inconvenience to a lot of passengers who came to know about cancellation of their flights after reaching the airport.

Total 26 flights were affected at Amritsar airport due to suspension of flights. Flights operations were declared as ‘resumed’ in the afternoon, but on the ground the last flight that take off from Amritsar was of an Air India flight for Delhi at 11 am, and after that no flight landed or took off from Amritsar through the day.

“Most international flights come to Amritsar after crossing Pakistan airspace and that airspace is closed for now. So flights have to re-route and it is delaying operations at airport,” said an official.

A flight from Tashkent to Amritsar, scheduled to reach Amritsar airport at 10:30 pm Wednesday, was to be first ground operation after the resumption of flights.

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The BSF and Army, police and other security forces remained on high alert in the border belt comprising Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Tarn Taran.

The Delhi-Lahore Bus between India and Pakistan stuck to its schedule, even as trade was affected on the Integrated Check Post Attari due to the recent sanctions imposed by Centre. Officially, however, trade was not closed on Wednesday.

At the Wagha border, the retreat ceremony was also held in routine manner by BSF and Pakistan Rangers.
“There was no affect on retreat ceremony. Visitors were allowed like other days,” said a BSF official.

Meanwhile, farmers were not allowed to visit their field across the fencing on second day in row. An announcement was also made in some Tarn Taran villages for the farmers against approaching entry gates to seek permission to visit their fields.

An DIG-level BSF officer said, “We have eyeball to eyeball contact with the Pakistan army, which is standing on the other side. We have not been taking any risk at this moment and we have not allowed farmers to visit their fields yet.

We had a meeting with civil administration yesterday and they are ready with a plan in case we are required to evacuate villagers living on the border. So far we do not need evacuation so there is no need to spread the panic.”

Punjab Police also increased security on the border with Jammu in Pathankot.

“There is no panic among the people so far. People are curious…but they are not afraid,” a security official said.