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93 flights cancelled, passengers stranded

Arindham Basu landed in Mumbai from Brazil on Monday morning for a business meeting at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Jul 06, 2010 00:55 IST
HT Correspondent

Arindham Basu landed in Mumbai from Brazil on Monday morning for a business meeting at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.

But it was only after he stepped out of the airport terminal that the impact of the nationwide bandh hit him. There were no pre-paid taxis at the airport to ferry him to Navi Mumbai.

"The few taxis that were willing to ply to Kharghar demanded Rs 3,500, which was ridiculous,"said Basu.

On realising that he would be unable to get any work done in the city, Basu immediately booked a flight to his hometown in Kolkata.

Domestic airlines cancelled 46 flights scheduled to land in Mumbai and 47 departures.

The Mumbai International Airport Limited deployed buses at the international terminal and domestic terminals to drop passengers to Andheri, Ghatkopar, Kurla and Borivli railway stations.

Six BEST buses were deployed at the international airport and 20 at the domestic airport. Passengers were ferried to locations such as Thane, Powai, Borivli, Sion and Colaba at the regular BEST fare.

Four private buses were arranged for travel between the airport and nearby Andheri and Vile Parle railway stations.

"Though we knew about the bandh, we could not change our reservation as no seats were available for later dates,"said Gajanand Moghe, who returned to the city after vacationing in Bangalore. "As we can’t take so many bags in the bus, we will wait till the bandh is over at 6 pm."

"Some passengers left their luggage at the luggage lounge and used the buses to reach their destinations. They will collect their luggage after the bandh is called off,"said a security official at the airport.

Vasai resident Vishal Katoch was anxious to check if his flight to Delhi was on schedule. "From Delhi I have a connecting flight to Amsterdam. There is a very small window period between the two flights and even a slight delay could make me miss my flight,"said Katoch.

Even the airport taxi drivers were keen to start business. "The pre-paid taxi service provided by the international airport stopped giving vouchers at 6 am. We are waiting for the bandh to lift so we can start work,"said Somesh Mishra, a taxi driver at the airport.