A 4-member Airport Premises Committee (APC) has been formed at the Srinagar International Airport to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines are followed by the flyers.
As per an order issued by the Director, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Srinagar the APC comprising two AAI officials, one Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel and one official from a private airline have been asked to ensure that passengers at the Srinagar Airport wear the protective facemask and follow social distancing.
It may be mentioned that the terminal building, where the passengers check in and check out, and the apron area, where an aircraft is parked at the Srinagar Airport are controlled by the AAI.
As per the AAI order, a station manager of a private airline has been designated as the chairman of the APC while an official from the Covid-19 team of the AAI and the airport terminal manager have been made part of the committee.
Speaking with Greater Kashmir, Director, AAI, Srinagar, Santosh Dhoke said the APC has been formed after guidelines issued by the Aviation Ministry. Dhoke said the committee has been making surprise checks inside the airport terminal for the last two days.
“The committee members have been trying to create awareness on importance of facemasks and social distancing among travellers. In case any of the passengers shows resistance to wear facemask, a fine of Rs 500 will be imposed on the violators,” Dhoke said.
Dhoke said that in view of the increase in the number of flights to and from Srinagar, the number of booths conducting Covid-19 tests have been increased from 10 last month to 20 now. “We have staff working in two shifts at the testing booths as there are flights operating till 8 pm now,” Dhoke said.
It may be mentioned that Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Pandurang K Pole had last month directed the Deputy Director (P&S ) to have adequate NYC and NSS volunteers for crowd control at Srinagar Airport. He had been advised to coordinate with Director Youth Services and Sports to ensure that volunteers are roped-in for crowd control at the airport.
Speaking with Greater Kashmir, the Div Com said that if need arises the number of Covid-19 testing booths at the Srinagar Airport will be increased.
Pole said that the number of Covid-19 positive cases reported from the Srinagar Airport mostly involves the returnees. “Apart from the tourists, the returnees from Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka constitute the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases among travellers at the Srinagar Airport,” Pole said.
As many as 900 travellers at the Srinagar International Airport had tested positive for Covid-19 during March this year, making it the month with highest reported cases at the aerodrome in the last 11 months ever since air traffic resumed after a hiatus of 3 months owing to Covid-19.
The second highest number of positive cases in last 11 months at the airport was reported in September last year with 793 passengers having tested positive.
The airport witnesses operations of almost 40 commercial flights every day and has seen almost 10 lakh passenger footfall between December 2020 and March 2021.
As per AAI data, the annual footfall of passengers at Srinagar is expected to increase from the current 3 million passengers to 5.2 million passengers per annum.