West Bengal wants suspension of domestic flights from COVID-19 hotspots


West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha on Tuesday wrote to Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation P.S. Kharola urging him to stop domestic flights from high prevalence places to Kolkata.

“West Bengal is witnessing a steep rise in cases…Accordingly, I request you not to schedule any flight to Kolkata or Bagdogra from high prevalence places viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Surat for two weeks from July,” Mr Sinha said. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been demanding the ban.

Also read | Mamata Banerjee relaxes night curfew, restriction now from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

During the day, Ms. Banerjee threatened to acquire 6,000 private buses in Kolkata through the imposition of the National Disaster Management Act. “If the owners do not operate buses by Wednesday, we will be left with no option but to acquire them.”

Mr. Sinha also wrote to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla seeking permission to invoke the Act. The State had proposed ₹15,000 aid to private bus owners but they were not willing to bring the vehicles on the streets. The owners are demanding a hike in the fares and commuters in Kolkata and suburbs have been having a tough time in reaching their destinations.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Ms. Banerjee opposed the Centre’s decision to bring cooperative banks under the RBI. “This is the only thing that we have in our control. The Centre should not take it away. Our government has decided to write to the NITI Aayog chief against it,” she said.

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