Air, rail services back in a mess as fog returns to Delhi

January 6th, 2009 - 11:45 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The thick blanket of fog covering the capital was back Tuesday morning, delaying flights and trains once more. Visibility was down to 50 metres even at 9 a.m., so motorists had a bad time too.”After rainfall, a thick fog the next day is expected. This is because there is a lot of moisture in the air,” an official of the India Meteorological department (IMD) told IANS. There had been a drizzle here early Monday.

A damp breeze made it seem colder than it was. The minimum temperature Tuesday morning was a degree above average, at 8.4 degree Celsius.

At the capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), it was back to the familiar fogged-out scene, with flights delayed, rescheduled or cancelled, all airport buildings full and more harried passengers having to camp outside with all their belongings.

According to an airport official, seven domestic flights were delayed by as much as three hours because of the weather conditions. Two were rescheduled and another four cancelled.

Railway services were in a similar mess.

An official of the Northern Railways said: “Nearly 80 percent of the trains are running behind schedule because of the heavy fog.”

Even the railways’ information services over phone broke down, with a recorded voice admitting it could not cope with the “abnormal weather conditions”. As a result, passengers and their companions had no choice but to stand in cold platforms and shiver away. The only people who benefited were the tea stall owners.

Indian Railways’ prestige train the Rajdhani Express to Howrah, which was scheduled to start from New Delhi at 5 p.m. Sunday, finally started at 5 a.m. Monday and reached Howrah at 4 a.m. Tuesday, 17 hours behind schedule for a journey that is supposed to take 18 hours.

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