Monday, April 15, 2024

Mamata urges Centre to stop domestic flights from COVID hotspot states till Jul 31

Kolkata, June 26: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the Centre on Friday to stop international repatriation flights and domestic flights to Kolkata from states with a high COVID-19 prevalence till July 31 and relaxed the night curfew in the state by an hour from July 1.
She also said she wants the metro rail services to resume from July 1, but only with 100-per cent seat occupancy and no passenger standing.
“We have decided that (from July 1) the night curfew hours will be from 10 pm to 5 am. We also want the metro rail to resume services from July 1 while following all the precautionary and sanitisation norms and only with a 100-per cent seat occupancy policy,” Banerjee told a press conference here.
Currently the night curfew hours are from 9 pm to 5 am.
Alleging that those coming to the state by air are not being adequately screened at the airports, leading to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, Banerjee urged the Centre to stop domestic flights to Kolkata from states with a high COVID-19 prevalence till July 31.
“Recently we came to know that a few COVID-19 patients came from Chennai and were not screened at the airport. Later, they got themselves admitted to a hospital in Midnapore. We are planning to write a letter to the Centre to stop domestic flights and special trains to Kolkata till July 31 from hotspots and those states with a high number of COVID-19 cases,” the chief minister said while inaugurating various projects online from the state secretariat.
She also urged the Union government to stop international repatriation flights to the state as the returnees are not following the institutional quarantine norms, leading to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in West Bengal.
“As far as international flights are concerned, we will send a letter to the Centre to stop the service as of now. If they want to go ahead with their plan, then I think they should allow one flight a month by strictly following all the safety norms,” Banerjee said.
“The domestic flights within the state from Kolkata to Bagdogra in Siliguri and Andal in Burdwan can operate. We do not have any objection to that,” she added.
The chief minister said the Kolkata metro should ensure that it runs trains without any passenger standing or the coaches being overcrowded.
Earlier this week, Banerjee announced the extension of the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the state till July 31.
The chief minister accused opposition parties of indulging in politics at a time of crisis to score political brownie points.
“We have already stopped big gatherings, but some political parties are violating the lockdown norms and organising gatherings and rallies. They are conducting rallies without police permission. We will not tolerate this. If someone breaks the rule, the law will take its own course. I do not even spare my own party workers,” she said.
Speaking about her party’s “Martyr’s Day” rally on July 21, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said it would be observed, but in a much different way.
“We will conduct a virtual meeting with our party leadership on July 3 to decide on the July 21 rally,” she said. (PTI)