In a big development on Thursday, May 21, flight operations have resumed at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata at noon. This comes a day after Cyclone Amphan battered Kolkata at a wind speed of 130 km per hour, leaving parts of the tarmac, runways, and hangar at the airport flooded. A Russian chartered plane for evacuating stranded Russian nationals was the first flight to land at the airport at 2.31 pm.
On the other hand, a SpiceJet cargo flight for Delhi was the first departure from the airport. In a statement, the Airport authorities stressed that effective planning had reduced the impact of Cyclone Amphan. It added that their teams were working round the clock to ensure uninterrupted services. In view of the impending Cyclone landfall, seven planes that were earlier parked on the airfield were flown out.
#KolkataAirport springs back to operation from 12 noon today after severe #CyclonAmphan ravaged at wind speed of 130kmph. First flight,a Russian chartered plane landed at 1431 hrs for evacuation of stranded Russian nationals. First departure was SpiceJet cargo flight for Delhi. pic.twitter.com/O0iF69Utll— Kolkata Airport (@aaikolairport) May 21, 2020
Operations resume at #KolkataAirport after severe #CyclonicStormAmphan. Effective planning and team work has minimised the effects of Cyclone at the Airport and our teams are working round the clock to ensure uninterrupted services. pic.twitter.com/9L0wviHTTy— Kolkata Airport (@aaikolairport) May 21, 2020
Addressing the people of the state immediately after the landfall of Cyclone Amphan, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee revealed that the North 24 Paraganas, South 24 Parganas district and Kolkata had been completely damaged. She noted that communication had been snapped in most places and at least 10-12 persons had died. She observed that the loss in the state was worth hundreds of crores of rupees. According to her, it would take at least 3-4 days to assess the full extent of the damage. Asserting that this was a bigger disaster than COVID-19, she urged the Centre to extend assistance.
A day later, Banerjee stated that the number of deceased had increased to 72. She declared an ex-gratia of Rs.2.5 lakh to the kin of the deceased. Maintaining that she had not seen such a disaster like this before, she said that she would invite PM Modi to visit the cyclone-affected areas. Meanwhile, PM Modi expressed solidarity with the people of West Bengal and assured that top officials were working closely with the West Bengal government.