You can’t drive, you can’t fly and you can’t take the train. Delhi’s struggle with the worst fog in many years continued into Thursday with no signs of a let up over the next few days.
The forecast is grim: more fog.
Two persons died in road accidents on Wednesday caused by fog, called the worst in seven years for Delhi.
It set in early and in no time the city turned into a maze of opaque walls of smoke.
As visibility dropped to zero at the airport, flights were cancelled one after another. Between Wednesday evening and Thursday evening about 200 flights were delayed, 28 flights were diverted and 25 were cancelled.
But it wasn’t just the fog to blame. As the skies cleared late morning, the airport shut down as Indian Air Force aircraft rehearsed their Republic Day moves overhead.
When operations resumed around noon, flights came in a flood, severely stressing the support infrastructure.
Airlines ran out of ladders, keeping passengers on board for around 30 minutes in some instances.
And when finally they disembarked, the wait for checked-in luggage stretched torturously. Each conveyor belt carried luggage of two or three flights and passengers fought and pushed to be closer to the belt.
“The collateral damage was more painful than the delay,” said a passenger refusing to be identified.
But he was still lucky. He got a flight home.
There were many such as Amit Dikshit, stranded here in Delhi.
He had to take a Jet Airways flight to Bangalore on Wednes-day evening. “The flight was scheduled to depart at 5:50pm on Wednesday but the airlines kept delaying it,” he said.