Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bali volcano: No respite for Indians stranded at airprot

Mumbai: There has been no respite for several Indians stranded in Bali, as the Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar remained shut for second consecutive day yesterday. Massive columns of thick grey smoke that have been belching from Mount Agung since last week have now begun shooting more than three kilometres into the sky, forcing flights to be grounded. Most tourists were trying to leave Bali and move towards the alternative airport at Surabaya in East Java.

The Indian Consulate has set up a desk at the Denpasar airport, and has also extended its services to Surabaya, even as Air Asia gave several tourists, such as Kolkata-based Shilpa Agrawal, the option of re-routing flights from the Surabaya airport from December 1or refunding the tickets.

"The Indian Consulate officials told us to leave Bali as soon as possible. Air Asia said the flight will depart from Surabaya only on December 1. Many of us opted for the refund, paid for buses organised by the Indian Consulate, and left for Surabaya in uncertainty.

"India has an embassy in Jakarta, but nothing in Surabaya. Even if we manage to reach Jakarta, the air fares have shot up to Rs 50,000 per ticket," Agrawal said.

She claimed the Chinese Consulate was more active, and had ensured all Chinese nationals were out of Bali. "Why can't the Indian government send an aircraft to Surabaya or Jakarta to bring us back?" she asked.
Goregaon resident Ajinkya Thombare, 30, and his wife went to Bali on honeymoon, and have opted to wait for a rescheduled flight from Surabaya on December 2.
29/11/17 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror