Stranded passengers throng Jammu airport

January 18th, 2012 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Jan 18 (IANS) With the Jammu-Srinagar highway cut off due to snow, hundreds thronged the airport here Wednesday desperately seeking to fly to the Kashmir Valley, leading to chaotic scenes.

The highway has been closed since Sunday morning.

Shamim Ahmad is one of many who has been visiting the airport for three days, begging for a ticket to reach Srinagar. But no ticket is available.

Officials of Air India, which is operating extra flights to help the stranded passengers, are a harassed lot.

“The weather is not clearing up in Delhi and the flights have got delayed. What can we do? We want to help people but the weather is not helping us,” an airlines official told IANS.

Aircraft which fly between Jammu and Srinagar come from Delhi.

But passengers didn’t trust the airline officials. “The VIPs are coming and going but the commoners have no access to tickets,” moaned Javed Ahmad Malik, a shopkeeper from Srinagar.

Official sources said the VIPs were just trying their luck as well.

Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand told reporters: “Such a situation is not uncommon during winters. Snowfall and landslides close the highway and the people get stranded. We are also working for the early opening of the highway.”

The government has set up free kitchens for passengers at the General Bus Stand here.

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