The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Friday suspended all flights at the Kolkata airport on July 25 and July 29 because of the total lockdown that will be in place across West Bengal on those days.
“In view of comprehensive lockdown announced in West Bengal, flight operations at Kolkata Airport will remain suspended on July 25 and 29. The temporary restriction on request of the state government is to restrict movement during lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19,” tweeted the AAI.
The Mamata Banerjee government had decided to impose total lockdown across the state earlier this week to check the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the past few weeks. This week, the comprehensive lockdown, as part of the new strategy, was imposed for the first time on Thursday.
Though both Kolkata and Bagdogra airports remained operational on Thursday, the lack of transport services inconvenienced many passengers.
Following this, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked senior government officials to request the Centre to suspend rail and air operations to make lockdown successful. Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha then wrote to the Centre with the request.
Asked if the rule would be extended to all days of the biweekly lockdown, an official of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata said it was a possibility, adding, “Most probably, it will be extended to all lockdown days. But the state government will make an announcement. As of now, these two dates have been confirmed. No flights to operate on July 25 and 29.”
On July 19, the government had extended a ban on flights from six Covid-19 hotspot cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur and Ahmedabad — to Kolkata was extended till the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the Railways announced that the Patna-Howrah, Bhubaneswar-Howrah and Barbil-Howrah special trains would be cancelled on July 25. The railways will issue another notification about train schedules ahead of the July 29 lockdown.
In another announcement, the state administration said fair price ration shops would remain closed during the biweekly lockdown.
The Department of Food and Supplies, however, requested ration dealers to keep their shops open on July 27 and August 3, which had been earlier declared as holidays. With PTI inputs
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