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Fog disrupts Delhi airport operations, passengers stuck

Monitor News Bureau

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New Delhi : For the second consecutive day, operations at the Delhi airport have been suspended this morning after the visibility level on the runways dropped below 50 metres. Thick fog covered many parts of Delhi and the National Capital Region leading to slow moving traffic on day one of 2018. Train services too have been severely hit in Delhi and several other parts of north India. 56 trains headed towards the capital are late and 20 have been rescheduled.

All domestic and international flights to and from the Delhi airport have been put on hold. Departures have been stopped since 6 am. The last arrival was at 6:20 am. Fifteen trains have been cancelled, said the Northern Railways.

Hundreds of passengers at the Delhi airport and railway stations in north India were left stranded after multiple flights and trains got delayed due to dense fog. Visibility levels at the Delhi airport went below 50 metres on Sunday morning. Over 270 flights were delayed, nearly 50 diverted and an estimated 35 cancelled. No flight could take off from the Delhi airport for nearly four hours between 7.30 am and 11.05 am, according to an airport official.

 

Many took to Twitter to share pictures of the overcrowded domestic terminal where passengers could be seen sitting on floors and occupying staircases.

Take-offs from the Indira Gandhi International Airport require a minimum visibility range of 125 metres. However, as Delhi airport has advanced technology for low-visibility landings, called the CAT IIIB system (short for category three), aircrafts qualified to land in visibility of 25-50 metres could arrive .

Pollution levels in Delhi have shot up in Delhi since last night. The levels of Particulate Matter are in the “Very Poor” category, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.


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Kartarpur corridor to be opened for Indian Sikh pilgrims on Nov 9: Pakistan official

Press Trust of India

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From November 9, Pakistan will allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Kartarpur Sahib, a senior official heading the much-awaited Kartarpur corridor project announced on September 16.

Project Director Atif Majid made the announcement during the maiden visit of Pakistani and foreign journalists to the proposed Kartarpur corridor in Narowal, some 125 km from Lahore, amidst fresh tension between India and Pakistan after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Majid said so far 86 percent of the work on the corridor has been completed and it will be opened to pilgrims on November 9.

 

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.

Both countries have agreed that Pakistan would allow 5,000 Sikh visitors per day into the country through the corridor, which will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947.

Majid said some 76 immigration counters have been set up to cater to 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India every day. And for 10,000 pilgrims visiting here daily, 152 immigration counters will be set up. He said that initially 5,000 Sikhs from India will come daily and later the number will rise to 10,000.

Pakistan, however, repeatedly said that the opening of the Kartarpur corridor will not be hit by the current tension with India.

The visiting Indian Sikhs will have to bring their passports with them and they will be issued corridor pass. On return, they will receive their passports from immigration counter after returning the pass.

Airport-like facilities will be provided to the pilgrims who will come here by bus, he said. “Finger prints will be taken of every Indian and Pakistani Sikhs entering the Kartar Sahib,” he said.

The journalists were told that the visiting Sikh pilgrims will be provided free food and medicines by the Pakistan Gurdwara Sikh Parbhandik Committee.

The security of the corridor will be provided by provincial paramilitary forces Punjab Rangers.

During the last round of talks on the Kartarpur corridor held last week, Pakistan showed inflexibility and gave unfavourable responses on issues of charging a service fee, the number of pilgrims to be allowed on special occasions and allowing protocol officials to accompany them.

There were three issues on which the Indian side had asked Pakistan to show some flexibility — their insistence on charging USD 20 per pilgrim, allowing 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions and Indian protocol officer to accompany the delegation that visits Kartarpur everyday.

“We had hoped that all pending issues will be resolved. However we realised that Pakistan was quite inflexible during the talks,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.

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Farooq Abdullah upheld unity, integrity of country, unjust to arrest him: Salman Khurshid

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Stating that former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah has served the country by upholding its unity and integrity, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Monday termed his alleged arrest under Public Safety Act (PSA) as unjust.

“The arrest of Farooq Abdullah threatens the identity of the country. He is one of the leaders who upheld the unity and integrity of the country in Jammu and Kashmir. His entire family including his father and son have served the state and the Union”, said Khurshid to ANI.

“Injustice had been done not only with him but the entire country”, Khurshid added.

 

Khurshid’s remarks come after sources in the Jammu and Kashmir government said that Farooq Abdullah has been detained under the provisions of the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

Reports of Abdullah being booked under the PSA came on a day when the Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration on the petition seeking the release of Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah.

PSA is a stringent law that enables detention without trial for up to two years.

Abdullah has been under the preventive detention in Srinagar after the central government revoked the special Constitutional status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir.

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Kashmir integral part of India, says Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind

Press Trust of India

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Top Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JuH) on Thursday came out in support of the Centre’s decision of abrogating provisions of Article 370, saying Kashmir is an “integral part” of the country and the welfare of people in the Valley lies in their integration with India.

In the resolution passed in its annual general meeting held in New Delhi, JuH rallied for a united India.

“It is our belief that the welfare of the people of Kashmir lies in getting integrated with India. The inimical forces and the neighbouring country are bent upon destroying Kashmir. The oppressed and beleaguered people of Kashmir are stuck between opposing forces,” it said, without mentioning Article 370.

 

“JuH stands steadfastly for the unity and integrity of the country and has accorded it paramount importance. As such it can never support any separatist movement, rather it considers such movements not only harmful for India but also for the people of Kashmir,” it said.

It also said that the current situation in Kashmir demands that peaceful initiatives be launched to maintain peace and security in the region, especially in the view of the repercussions of clash of “atomic powers”.

The Muslim body also appealed to the government of India to protect the people of Kashmir and their property while respecting human rights.

“It must use every possible constitutional means for bringing back normalcy in the region and winning the hearts of the people of Kashmir,” it said.

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