‘Huge Breach of Shutdown’: After Mamata's Letter, Centre to Take Call on Banning Domestic Flights
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee said the state government is seriously concerned that the Centre is still allowing operation of domestic flights as there are no arrangements for social distancing on them.
File photo of Mamata Banerjee. (PTI Photo)
Kolkata: Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said the central government will take a call on banning domestic flights to curtail the spread of coronavirus, after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a ban on all flights coming to the state.
The Centre had on Sunday overruled the Delhi government on a ban on domestic flights in and out of the national capital, but on Monday indicated it was open to reconsidering its position as the demand by the CMs was an understandable one.
In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, Banerjee said that a partial lockdown has been implemented in West Bengal, but the state government is seriously concerned that the Centre is still allowing operation of domestic flights.
Calling the operation of flights a “huge breach of shut down and quarantine protocol”, she said there are no arrangements for social distancing on these flights.
“I, would therefore, request you to kindly arrange to issue necessary instructions to stop all flights coming to West Bengal with immediate effect so that the source of spreading infection is effectively contained and lockdown in the state is implemented in true letter and spirit,” the CM’s letter reads.
Banerjee further listed the steps taken by her government to curb the spread of coronavirus and improve the health infrastructure. She added that since operation of passenger trains, metro services and inter-state buses have been suspended, a similar step should be taken for flights.
Kolkata and several other areas in West Bengal were on Monday locked down till March 27 after seven confirmed cases were reported from the state.
While the Centre has banned all incoming international flights for a week starting Monday, no such decision has been taken on domestic flights till now.
The union ministry of civil aviation had on Sunday overruled the decision taken by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to ban all domestic flights in and out of Delhi, and said operations would continue. The decision was confirmed by Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the aviation regulator.
"Domestic flights to and from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will continue to operate and the airport will remain functional," a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said.
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