After four days of flight cancellations due to the heavy snowfall, air traffic resumed at the Srinagar International Airport on Thursday but huge traffic gridlocks on way to the airport, triggered by partially cleared roads, caused inconvenience to passengers, many of whom missed flights as they were unable to reach the airport in time.
Flights at Srinagar Airport were cancelled from Sunday till Wednesday, owing to presence of snow on the runway and poor visibility. However, with resumption of flights on Thursday, right since morning the Airport road – from Hyderpora flyover junction to Humhama – witnessed unprecedented traffic jams. The traffic jam was seen over a stretch of more than 5 kilometres which lasted for hours.
Throughout the day, a large number of tourists and local travellers could be seen walking along with their luggage towards the airport.
Several of these travellers at Hyderpora, Peerbagh and Humhama told the Greater Kashmir about the problems they were facing in order to reach the airport terminal.
“We are stuck in Kashmir since January 3 because all flights were cancelled since then due to a heavy snowfall. But today we have got a flight in the next one hour but remain stuck here on Airport road for the last 2 hours” said Aakash, a tourist from Delhi, who was stuck in a traffic jam at Hyderpora flyover.
Another tourist Shikha who was walking along with two large suitcases said she was aware that the aerodrome was still three kilometres away but added that she was “compelled to walk due to the traffic jam”. She said the administration should have “properly planned the traffic movement so that travellers on the way to the airport don’t suffer”.
Deepika, a tourist from Mumbai said she enjoyed the one-week long Kashmir visit but was “disappointed with the way traffic was managed”. Another tourist Alankrita Thakur said they were a group of three female travellers but due to the traffic jam were compelled to walk the entire stretch from Hyderpora to Airport. “It is 1:45 pm right now and I have 4:10 pm flight. I don’t know how I am going to walk this entire stretch and make it on time,” Thakur said.
Ghulam Hassan, DySP Traffic City, who was regulating the traffic on the Hyderpora Bypass said they were “making all possible efforts to streamline the traffic but the snow on roads was proving to be hurdle”. When asked why there was no traffic advisory issued beforehand if the authorities knew that resumption of flights will lead to a huge rush, the officer said, “No further comments on this”.
When contacted, Director Srinagar Airport, Santosh Dhoke said all airlines tried to schedule additional flights to accommodate the rush of passengers. Dhoke said there was a huge rush of passengers at the airport. “We are trying to make regular public announcements and keeping the digital flight information board updated. We urge people to call their respective airlines before starting their journey to the airport in order to know the flight status so that there is no unnecessary rush at the airport,” Dhoke said.