July 15, 2020 11:19:57 pm
The 10-day lockdown in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and some villages in rural areas has caused considerable reduction in travellers coming to and going out of Pune via flights and trains.
According to officials with the Airports Authority of India, a 35 to 45 per cent dip in the number of passengers arriving at and departing from Pune airport has been observed since Tuesday, when the 10-day lockdown began.
“We were noticing a footfall of about 4,500 passengers (arrival and departures) this month, which has now come down considerably. On Tuesday, 942 passengers arrived at the airport and 1,476 passengers departed. The arrivals are about 35 per cent lower than average and departures are about 45 per cent lower. This, prima facie, is a result of the Pune lockdown,” said Pune Airport Director Kuldeep Singh.
Even before the latest lockdown, the footfall at the airport was much lower, when compared to the footfall before the Covid-19 pandemic started affecting domestic and international operations in March this year.
The lockdown has also affected train traffic, said officials with Central Railway. They said there has been a 30 per cent reduction in the occupancy of the sole train that operates from Pune at the moment, Pune-Patna Danapur Express. Other trains, which originate and terminate at other stations but halt at Pune, are also bringing fewer passengers since Tuesday, they said.
“The Pune-Patna train was bringing about 1,150 passengers per day for the last one-and-a- half months. Since yesterday, the number has gone down to about 700,” said an official with Central Railway’s Pune Division. The number of passengers boarding from Pune has also gone down considerably, said the official. He said the reason for reduced occupancy of Patna-Pune trains could be due to the flood situation in some parts of Bihar, apart from the lockdown in Pune and surrounding areas, which employ migrant workers from north India in large numbers.
PMPML to run special buses
TO facilitate intra-city transport of those arriving or departing from Pune airport and Pune railway station, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) will operate special buses. Due to the lockdown, no public transport facility — autorickshaws, cabs or buses — are available in the city.
“We are charging Rs 70 per person for this facility. It will benefit migrant workers who are coming to Pune via trains and workers who were stranded abroad and are arriving at the airport as part of the Vande Bharat Mission,” said Anant Waghmare, general manager (traffic), PMPML.
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