Maha Allows 25 Take-Offs, 25 Landings From Mumbai Daily: Minister

Maharashtra is the worst-hit state by coronavirus with over 50,000 COVID-19 cases.

Updated24 May 2020, 02:35 PM IST
3 min read

Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Sunday, 24 May, said that the state government has agreed to allow 25 take-offs and 25 landings everyday for domestic flights from Mumbai.

“This number will be increased gradually. The state government will issue details and guidelines in this regard soon,” he added, saying he had spoken to the Chief Secretary.

According to NDTV, Malik also criticised the Central government, saying, "The Narendra Modi government makes announcement after announcement, without discussing the issue with the state government".

This U-turn comes after CM Uddhav Thackeray earlier in the day on Sunday said that the state needed some time to make the requisite preparations to resume air travel.

“This morning, I spoke to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and requested him to give us some time for preparations to resume air travel,” Thackeray said.

The Centre had recently announced that travel services will be allowed in a phased manner, starting with all domestic carriers which have commenced bookings for their flights on domestic routes from 25 May.

The 19 May order of the Maharashtra government had dictated that the lockdown has been extended till 31 May and all domestic and international air travel, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes as permitted by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), will continue to remain prohibited across the state.

In a letter to the Centre, the state government had stated earlier that they do not have the infrastructure to handle the passengers arriving as the city has too many containment zones and movement of people needs to be restricted, reported Hindustan Times.

“The scanning of passengers and then allocating them quarantine facilities at hotels is not possible at this juncture when hospitals and hotels are being acquired for existing patients,” said the official, quoted the media report.

With taxi, auto and aggregator services prohibited till 31 May, travel within the city and to nearby towns is not possible, said another official, as per the report.

"The disconnect between the MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) stating that passengers will not be required to quarantine post travel and individual state chief ministers announcing the rules for quarantine post arrival has got people confused and has resulted in them reaching out to our customer care for clarity," said CEO and co-founder of Nishant Pitti, reported News 18.

During a Facebook live session, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri stated that India will try to restart a good percentage of international passenger flights before August.

Lockdown May Go On Beyond 31 May: CM Thackeray

Thackeray on Sunday also said that the ongoing lockdown may not be lifted on 31 May as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state.

Maharashtra is the worst-hit state by coronavirus with over 50,000 COVID-19 cases.

“We can’t say that the lockdown will be over by 31 May. We will have to see how we can go forward. The coming time is crucial as the multiplication of virus is picking up,” he told reporters, according to The Indian Express.

According to NDTV, Thackeray also said that the next 15 days were crucial and that a lot of movement of people, as well as rise in cases was anticipated. He added that things could only open up gradually.

Thackeray also said that it was wrong to impose the lockdown suddenly and that it would be equally wrong to lift it in one go, The Times of India reported.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times, News 18, NDTV, The Indian Express and The Times of India.)

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Published: 24 May 2020, 02:57 AM IST
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