Taking a U-turn over its earlier decision of not allowing domestic flights amid Lockdown 4.0 enforced due to novel coronavirus pandemic, the Maharashtra Government has on Sunday decided to allow 25 takeoffs and 25 landings from Mumbai, announced Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik.
"I have just spoken to the Chief Secretary. After discussing the issue with all agencies, it has been decided that 25 flights will operate from Mumbai airport tomorrow. This number will increase slowly," Malik told NDTV.
He further criticized the Narendra Modi-led Central Government. "The Narendra Modi government makes announcement after announcement, without discussing the issue with the state government," he said.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that it was "extremely ill-advised" to reopen airports in Red Zone amid.
"Its extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate w/o swabs. Impossible to have autos/cabs/buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid stress to red zone," he said.
Deshmukh added, "Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn't make sense. Keeping a busy airport up & running with all Covid-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone."
Interestingly, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in his address on Sunday afternoon had sought "more time to prepare" for passenger flights from Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Sigh Puri.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra continues to remain the worst-affected state with 50,231 COVID-19 cases, with 3,041 new cases in the last 24 hours. With 58 deaths on Sunday, the state's total COVID-19 toll now stands at 1,635.
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