Fog throws flights, trains off schedule
Chandigarh December 30:
The heaviest fog of recent times threw life out of gear with hundreds of passengers left stranded at Chandigarh airport and on approaching trains.
While Jet Airways cancelled the Delhi-Chandigarh-Delhi flight and MDLR Airlines its Kullu-Chandigarh-Goa due to foggy weather, delayed departure of one to seven hours was recorded by all airlines including Kingfisher and Indian Airlines.
Even as the airport was teeming with people worn down by waiting, an executive of Jet Airways said, “Such delays are really beyond our control. But passengers were informed well in advance so as to not inconvenience them.”
Getting delayed the maximum, MDLR flight for Delhi-Kolkata left city at 2 pm against its scheduled departure of 7.30 am. Accommodating Delhi passengers on the flight to Mumbai, Jet Airways took off three hours after schedule. While Kingfisher’s Mumbai-Chandigarh-Mumbai flight took off more than five hours late at 4.30 pm, an Indian Airlines flight was rescheduled to 6.20 pm from its usual 3.15 pm.
The situation was no better at the railway station with Shatabdi and Himalayan Queen Express chugging in much beyond their scheduled arrival. Having come to receive relatives and friends, residents rued the railways’ failure to update them properly. ‘‘They first announced that Shatabdi was running late by half an hour because of which I decided to stay back. But the wait ultimately got stretched to almost two hours. I wish they could have given us more accurate information,’’ said Mukesh Malhotra who had come to pick up his family.
While 2011 Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi Express reached at 12.48 pm against its scheduled arrival of 11.02 am, the Himalayan Queen Express arrived an hour-and-a-half after schedule. “Sadbhavna Express, Kalka Howrah and Jaipur-Chandigarh ran late by more than three hours, while Unchahaar Express was eight hours behind schedule,” said a railways official. Even as cold wave conditions prevailed unabated in the region, normal life in Punjab and Haryana was badly hit with rail and air traffic slowing down because of fog.
“For the first time this season, the entire stretch from Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonepat, Rohtak, Sirsa, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Ambala in Haryana to Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Adampur, Halwara, Moga, Gurdaspur and Pathankot in Punjab was blinded by fog,” said Met sources. The situation in Amritsar is so bad that no flight has touched down or taken off from Rajasansi airport during the past two days. “Even the category I instrument landing system has not been able to tackle the haze after 5.30 pm since december 27,” said Amritsar airport director, Arun Talwar.