Rains dampen peak season tourism

Sep 04, 2011, 02:20 IST | Urvashi Seth

Incessant rains in the past week have led to cancellation of several flight and train bookings, making the weekend a nightmare for travel agents

The non-stop rain over the past week has impacted air and rail services in the state, forcing several tourists to cancel their travel plans.

The runway of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport remained closed till this paper went to press around midnight on Saturday, after a Turkish Airline aircraft that had skid, was caught in slush. The country's busiest airport staying closed for over 40 hours affected business by over 15 per cent.

"In the last few days, several clients have cancelled  or rescheduled their trips due to delays. It was a long holiday but we saw more cancellations than bookings on account of bad weather," said Iqbal Mulla, President of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).

Tour operator Manish Singhania also echoed Mulla's sentiments, saying, "We have faced cancellations too.

After constant TV reports about flight delays over the past few days, clients have been calling us to verify if their flights are on time. We hope the situation is brought under control since the festive season is already underway."

Pritam Rai, a Matunga-based  businessman, cancelled his trip to New York. "I was going on a leisure visit, but I don't want to sit at the airport for hours, waiting for my flight to take off. I thought it best to postpone my trip to the end of September," he said.

Services on the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) route too have remained paralysed since Friday due to heavy rains and slush on the tracks in Pomendi, Ratnagiri district.

Trains arriving from Goa to Mumbai, including Matsyagandha Express, Konkankanya Express and  Janshatabdi Express, were all cancelled. The Mumbai-Madgaon special train that had left the city on Thursday was cancelled at Ratnagiri.
The Sawantwadi-Diva Passenger was also cancelled at Ratnagiri and Adavali stations, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. The Ernakulam Mangala Express, Netravati Express and Nagarcoil Express were diverted to other routes.

The Indian Metrological Department has forecasted heavy rainfall in some parts of Mumbai and Maharashtra's Konkan region and Goa in the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, local administration officials in Konkan and Western Maharashtra have begun discharging thousands of cusecs of water from Koyna dam in Satara district, Radhanagari dam and Doodhganga in Kolhapur district, and Bhatsa and Vaitarna dams in Thane district.
Six gates of the Koyna dam were opened by authorities, resulting in flooding in low lying areas.

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