Worried about the well-being of their loved ones back home, several families from Kerala living in the city have been unable to go back to the state and help out, as both flight and train services have been crippled due to the floods caused by heavy rains.
While Kochi International Airport will remain closed for operations till August 26, trains to Kerala have been getting delayed and diverted. Road transport in the coastal state has also been hit, thus cutting off practically all transport links to the state. Pune is connected to Kerala through two daily direct flights to Kochi, one operated by SpiceJet and the other by IndiGo. Both airlines have stopped their operations since the last few days.
“As per the advisory issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Kochi airport has been closed for operations up to 8.30 am of August 26. So, both flights from Pune have been suspended by the respective airlines. Other airports such as Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode are operational, but we don’t have any flights connecting them with Pune,” said an airport official.
The train services between Kerala and Pune are functioning, but trains are getting delayed and diverted, said Central Railway officials. “There are several trains between Pune and various destinations in Kerala, including the Kanyakumari Express, Jayanti Janata Express, Pune-Ernakulam Superfast and Poorna Express. Of these, one train, 16381 down (Mumbai to Kanyakumari) has been diverted via Dindigul-Madurai instead of travelling on its usual route of Coimbatore-Palghat-Ernakulam. Other trains are operating with some delay,” said a senior official.
Many people from the state, who are currently living in Pune, have been unable to reach their loved ones in Kerala.
K Harinarayanan, a member of the World Malayali Federation who lives in Nigdi, said his ancestral home in Thrissur was flooded, and he was waiting for connectivity to improve so that he could visit his mother and sister, who had been rescued from the flooded area.
“Currently, there is no connectivity as air and surface transport has been badly affected. My mother is 86 years old and stayed with the family in our ancestral house in Arattapuzha in Thrissur district. Thankfully, they have been rescued form the flooded house. We are anxious about their well-being and want to visit them as soon as possible. I am waiting for flight operations to resume. As soon as that happens, I will go see them,” said Harinarayanan.
K Rajan, who hails from Panoor in Kannur district, said although the area was relatively unaffected by the deluge, he wanted to visit his family. “I hail from a part of Kannur district, which is among the least affected by the flood. I had come to Pune 10 days ago to see my ailing mother-in-law. I had booked a ticket for Friday on the IndiGo flight to return home. As Kochi airport has been flooded, all the flights between Pune and Kochi have been grounded. I am looking at other travel options, as my daughter and wife are there. Given the kind of news that’s emerging from Kerala, I want to be with them,” said Rajan.