A day after the State government decided to request the Civil Aviation Ministry to reduce the number of flights from high risk States to Karnataka, 53 arrivals and departures were cancelled at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) as of Friday evening. Twenty-six flights scheduled to land from Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Delhi and other cities were cancelled. Similarly, 27 flights scheduled to take off from KIA did not do so.

On Thursday, the State government after the Cabinet meeting said that it wanted to reduce air traffic from five high risk States – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

Karnataka is not the first State to take such a step. In the past, other States, too, had asked the Union government for reduced flight operations from high prevalence States. However, the cancellation of flights is causing a lot of inconvenience to people who had booked tickets, which many carriers have acknowledged.

“We are painfully aware that continuing last minute changes in regulations, mandated by the State governments at short notice, are causing a huge number of disruptions for our customers, and accessing our call centre has become very difficult,” said IndiGo, in a release to the media.

Vigilance at the border

District administration officials closed all the minor roads connecting Belagavi to Maharashtra. The Police and Revenue departments personnel put up barricades and piled mud mounds on the roads to stop people from entering the State. Check-posts have been put up on the national highways as per the standard operating protocol at three places.

“Due to rising number of cases, we have clear instructions to stop the entry of persons from five high-risk States. We are following them strictly,” Raghavendra Suhas, IGP, northern range, told The Hindu. Land routes from – Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, pass through Belagavi, Vijayapura and Bagalkot. The official added that they are especially focusing on Nippani and Chikkodi taluks as they have porous borders. “We are not only posting constables and officers at villages, but have also told villagers to alert us if they see anyone cross the border,” he said.

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