Passengers grounded at airport
Flyers who landed at Santacruz airport yesterday experienced commuting nightmares as taxi and auto rickshaw services were hit due to yesterday's bandh. Adding to their misery, protestors weren't allowing private vehicles to ply on the roads, forcing them to take temporary refuge at the airport itself.
Wadala resident Vishal Gupta, who along with his family landed at the CSIA at 2.20 pm, was forced to wait for nearly two hours at the airport. Gupta’s father was expected to come and pick them up from the airport, but could not make it as the protestors at Wadala prohibited him going towards the airport.
“I have been waiting at airport for past two hours with my wife, son and mother-in-law. Protestors stopped my father at Wadala itself. I understand the cause for which the political parties have called this bandh, but why are they targeting the common man?” questioned Gupta. “They (political parties) make claims of helping the common man. Is this the way to help us, by making us wait for hours at the airport for no mistake,” said 68-year-old Saroj Gupta, Vishal Gupta’s mother-in-law.
Malad resident Deepak Mehra said, “I have to reach Malad and there are no vehicles available. A few of the cabbies who approached me are asking anywhere between Rs 600 to Rs 800, which is absurd. Even the buses provided by the airport are dropping passengers only to Vile Parle station and according to my family, no auto rickshaws are operating in Malad,” said Mehra.
The airport authority was operating special buses from airport to the nearest railway station, but it was not feasible for long-distance passengers. “I stay at Domibivli. Even if I am dropped at the nearest railway station, how will I be able to carry my luggage? I will have to change the train at Dadar again. I don’t hesitate saying that the common man is being tortured by its so-called well-wishers,” said Sanjay Dalvi, Dombivli resident. Fortunately, the scenario at CSIA, Sahar, was less chaotic as most flights at the international airport are operated in the early morning and late evening.