Imphal: With domestic passenger flights finally resuming after two months of no flight operations across the nation, hundreds of state natives too arrived from different parts of the country by air here on Monday.
Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet on Monday morning, “Today, we restart domestic flights. India’s civil aviation is always on the forefront.” However, several passengers waiting for their flights in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and other airports complained that their flights were cancelled without any prior notice.
Many Manipur-bound passengers expressed their happiness and heaved a sigh of relief after more than sixty days of pondering whether they would be able to return to their homeland once again. However, many of them also expressed their reservation in the manner in which state government has changed its standard of operating procedure (SOP) so frequently for the air passengers.
Speaking to The North East Affairs, an AirAsia passenger from Delhi who wished not to disclose his identity, said that he and his co-passengers left for Imphal at 7.10 in the morning and arrived at Imphal via Guwahati at 11.05. Before they left Delhi, they received a state-government notification stating that every passenger would be allowed to go home with the advice that they shall self-monitor their health for 14 days. Yet, once they reached Imphal airport, there was another new order of the state government asking everyone to get admitted at a recognized institutional or community quarantine centre.
Further, he said that they left the airport premises at around 12 o’clock for HRD School, Ghari for mandatory institutional quarantine. The worst part, he said, was that all the passengers numbering around 400 in 17/18 buses were not even allowed to get down from the bus till 2 pm.
The AirAsia passenger said since all the shops and restaurants were closed at the Delhi airport or its periphery, they didn’t have any chance or opportunity to have a bite or eat anything, but here in Imphal not a single officer asked whether they would like to drink or eat till 6 pm, he fumed.
Nobody would tell them where and which quarantine centres they will get admitted. Few of them left for their respective constituencies to get admitted to quarantine centres set up there with the support of local MLAs. They knew the state government was doing its best for its citizens but the frequent notifications and orders have created an unnecessary confusion to the public, he said, and added, if it continued like this more complaints will be heard from several quarters.