Chaos at Srinagar Airport

Amid coronavirus threat, people returning to Kashmir alleged that mismanagement at Srinagar’s lone airport was creating chaos and confusion among the travellers.

For last two days, a number of videos and pictures uploaded on various social media platforms show the aggrieved passengers highlighting the messy affairs at the airport.

“People with some approach in the administration are allowed to leave immediately after disembarking from the planes, while the commoners are made to wait for hours,” said Muhammad Ismail, who was returning from Delhi.

A passenger said the administration must increase number of screening counters for inbound travellers. “We had to wait for almost two hours before filing a simple form which records our bio-data.”

According to official sources, there are four counters at the Srinagar Airport where every inbound passenger fills up a self-declaration form, and the medicos check their body temperature.  “Those with travel history to foreign countries are put in quarantine centre.”

Kashmir’s first Covid-19 patient had arrived at the Srinagar Airport on March 16; she was travelling along with 78 Umrah pilgrims. Questions are being asked as to why the authorities failed to detect her at the airport itself.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang Pole said: “There will be strict action against those persons concealing information about their travel history.”

According to sources, many people are concealing their travel history fearing that authorities may put them in quarantine centre.

As per the Srinagar district administration 250 students who reached Srinagar Airport have been put in quarantine centre.

A senior aviation official informed that “administration is facing problem because of the fact that many passengers with travel history to outside country or corona affected countries are concealing their travel history. Yesterday, a person coming from Saudi Arabia had informed the officials that he had returned from Delhi to escape quarantine. But our staff after cross-examining him, found out his travel history to foreign,” he said.

“Similarly, yesterday when were taking students who had returned from Bangladesh to quarantine centres, their family members raised hue and cry which is unfortunate as we are doing it all for their safety as well as the safety of people of Kashmir.”

Director Srinagar Airport, Santosh Dhoke said “screening of every passenger is mandatory as per the laid down protocol. People have to bear with us. We have four counters where inbound travellers have to fill self-declaration form and also the medicos do necessary check-up as per procedure to prevent spread of covid-19.”