Bengal govt wants Metro Rly to start from July 1, but no regular domestic or international flights

The West Bengal government is appealing to the Centre to stop regular international and domestic flights from landing in the state to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that state government is writing to the Centre about this. “Most people who were stranded have returned. There is no need for regular flights coming into the state,” she said. “If people have to return to the state, it can be done once a month or something like that,” Banerjee added. She said that flights within the state – like flights between Kolkata, Bagdogra, Durgapur could continue as usual, but if there were flights coming in from the COVID-19 hotspots, it would add to the spread of the virus. Domestic flights from other states could come once in 15 days and international flights could come once a month, she suggested.

The state however, wants Metro Railways to start operating from July 1 if possible. Banerjee said that the Metro authorities may examine how trains can be run by maintaining social distancing. She said the number of passengers to be allowed to commute may be equal to the number of seats available in trains. Apart from this, regular sanitisation is also required. The police authorities will be discussing these issues with the Metro Railway authorities and look at the possibility of running the trains from July 1.

Additional public transport would make it convenient for commuters who are facing a tough time in the absence of enough buses and other modes of transport, to reach their destination. More buses will be added to the existing fleet on the road by the beginning of July, the CM said.

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