Exposing the real status of ‘Srinagar International Airport’, two flights carrying Hajj pilgrims from Jeddah could not land on Thursday evening and had to return to New Delhi.
Aggrieved at the announcement, attendants of over eight hundred pilgrims staged massive anti-government and anti-India protest.
“This is shame. In present era of technology, we don’t have facility at so-called international airport that a flight can arrive at the evening,” Nazir Ahmad told a local news agency , who was eagerly waiting along with hundreds of attendants to receive the pilgrims.
According to officials, two Hajj flights carrying 420 pilgrims each from Saudi Arabia were scheduled to arrive at 4:15 pm and 5:35 pm. However, sources said, the flights were returned back to New Delhi where they had landed from Jeddah. No official could be contacted for the reasons. Minister for state for Haj & Auqaf Farooq Ahmad Andrabi and government spokesman Naeem Akhtar could not be contacted as their phones were switched off.
Recently, a high-level meeting discussed various issues relating to arrival of Hajj Flights, reception, arrival timings, airlifting of luggage and Holy Water (Aab-e-Zam Zam), deployment of Home Guards volunteers, vehicle passes to attendants and transport arrangements for pilgrims.
The government had directed concerned officers to ensure un-interrupted power supply at Hajj House, medical facilities, fire and emergency services, sanitation in and around Hajj House, regulation of traffic, security, Public Address System would be provided by the Department of Information.
“What for these facilities when you cannot provide landing system at evening,” Gulzar Ahmad, another attendant said, recalling news item in local dailies about the meeting on September 1.
The government had issued attendants of Hajjis multi color passes for entering the airport. Only one vehicle was allowed to enter the Airport premises from Haiderpora, in which one driver and one relative accompany the Hajj pilgrim at departure point. All routes leading to Airport were properly plugged at Gogo and Humhama Crossings. Additional 80 Home-guards were deployed at Airport and 20 at Hajj House. Kehwah Transport Company has also deployed ten vehicles at Hajj house.