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Mumbai rains: airport operations hit, ‘dabbawalas’ cancel deliveries

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-09-2017 PTI

Mumbai: Flight operations at the Mumbai airport remained affected for the second day on Wednesday, following heavy rains that continue to lash the metropolis. While schools remained shut, the “dabbawalas” cancelled their deliveries in view of disruption in rail services.

The skidding of a SpiceJet aircraft on the main runway (09/27) on Tuesday night compounded the problem further as it forced the private airport operator to shift operations to the secondary runway, which can carry out limited operations.

The SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 183 people overshot a wet runway while landing at the airport in rain-hit Mumbai and got stuck in the mud, officials said on Tuesday, adding that all passengers were safely evacuated.

As many as 56 flights have been diverted to different airports till this morning as the main runway continues to be out of use due to the SpiceJet aircraft stuck there, an airport official said.

Following the downpour, several airlines issued travel advisories to the passengers. #TravelAdvisory #6EUpdate Weather has improved, however, flights to/from Mumbai are still getting affected due last night weather,” budget carrier IndiGo said in a tweet.

Partial operation is being carried out from the secondary runway (14/32 ) but due to the tailwinds, flight departures and arrivals are quite slow. “Current visibility is 1600 mts with winds of 12 knots. RWY 14 is being used for arrivals while RWY 32 is being used for departures.

The disabled aircraft recovery kit from Air India is at site and preparation of pavement underneath the aircraft is in progress,” a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said. The SpiceJet aircraft is still stuck on the runway and efforts are on to tow it away to a bay, the official said. Mumbai airport, the country’s second busiest airport, handles 930 flights per day with an average of 48 movements per hour.

Also Read: Mumbai braces for another day of heavy rains today, schools shut

Meanwhile, the “dabbawalas” of Mumbai cancelled their delivery of over 200,000 tiffins to office-goers in the city in view of the disruption of suburban rail services after heavy rains. The tiffin delivery men use suburban trains to ensure the lunch boxes reach their destination on time.

“The over 5,000 ‘dabbawalas’, who deliver around two lakh ‘dabbas’ (tiffins) a day won’t be able to do so today due to disruption of train services after heavy rains,” Subhash Talekar, spokesperson of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association said.

“We will resume our services tomorrow,” he said. The three railway lines—Western, Central and Harbour—that link 70 stations, ensure that lunch boxes travel from the farthest northern suburbs to business areas on the southern tip of the city within a maximum of two hours, Talekar said.

The tiffin delivery men, most of who come from villages around Pune, had on 9 August taken a day off to join the Maratha reservation rally here and to express solidarity with the movement for demanding reservation to Maratha community in jobs and education.

After incessant rains in Mumbai on 29 August, dabbawalas had suspended their services the next day. The dabbawallas pride themselves on the ‘deliver on time’ motto, irrespective of Mumbai’s heat or heavy rains.

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