Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Police blamed as 70 miss flights, Vizhinjam protest spills on to city

Thiruvananthapuram: The road blockade by the fishermen community to protest against the Vizhinjam port construction threw the traffic movement out of gear in Thiruvananthapuram city on Monday and 70 passengers missed their flights from the airport.

As the protestors blocked the roads connecting the airport at Chackai and Enchakkal, both domestic and international passengers could not reach the terminals on time. According to a spokesperson at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, four passengers who were to board international flights and 66 others scheduled to travel on domestic flights missed the trips due to the blockade.

They missed four IndiGo flights and one Vistara flight to Bengalauru, New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kannur. Besides, the Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur IndiGo flight was delayed by one hour and 10 minutes after the pilot failed to reach the airport on time due to the protest.

Airport officials said the police stood as mute spectators and literally did nothing to divert the route for air passengers. "Normally, in similar situations, the city police make sure that airport passengers are not hit, but they did nothing on Monday," the spokesperson said.

Other commuters blamed the police for not effectively diverting the traffic though the protesters had announced the blockade in advance. The people going to the airport to catch flights, schools, colleges and offices suffered the most due to the blockade between 8.30 am and 3 pm.  

The protestors led by the Latin Church put up blockades at Attingal, Chackai, Thiruvallom, Uchakada and Poovar and Station Kadavu. A ban on the protest by the district collector did not deter the protestors from holding meetings at Vizhinjam junction and Mulloor.

Large groups of protestors came with boats and fishing nets to block all locations including the service roads to ensure total blockade. Later, they took out a protest march towards the secretariat, blocking MG Road around noon. The protestors organised an art and cultural meet in front of the secretariat on Monday.

18/10/22 New Indian Express

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