Flight operations resumed at Bagdogra airport on Thursday, but there would be just one trip to connect Calcutta during four days of operations till May 31.
The Trinamul Congress and north Bengal residents pointed out that railways had announced 100 pairs of long distance passenger trains from June 1 and of them, only one pair would run between north Bengal and Calcutta.
The Airports Authority of India had on Wednesday released the schedule of flights for four days from May 28 to 31.
According to the schedule, there would be eight flights which will connect Bagdogra with five destinations — New Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta.
“The schedule shows that there will be regular flights to Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore all these days. In fact, multiple flights would be available for Delhi from Bagdogra. However, only one flight would be available for Calcutta, that too, for one day (May 31). We feel the need for resumption of air connectivity between north Bengal and our state capital has been undermined by the Centre,” said Ranjan Sarkar, the Darjeeling (plains) district Trinamul president.
Usually, four to five flights operate between Bagdogra and Calcutta every day.
The railway’s decision to launch only one train between north Bengal (Alipurduar) and Calcutta (Sealdah) has drawn flak from the residents.
The Centre has planned to run 100 pairs of long distance passenger trains from June 1. In the list, there are six trains which will run in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone.
The residents have pointed out that only the Padatik Express has been included in the list of the trains.
“Surprisingly, trains like Amritsar-NJP Express and Delhi-Alipurduar Mahananda Express, which hardly draw passengers, are on the list. It is disappointing all other trains which connect Calcutta with north Bengal, like Darjeeling Mail, Kanchankanya Express and Teesta Torsha Express, have been kept out of the list. It seems we are becoming victims of politics,” said Swapan Dutta, a retired government employee.
A BJP leader in Siliguri, however, said: “Both flights and trains would be introduced in a staggered manner to prevent the spread of the pandemic. That is why less number of flights are operating and only 100 pairs of trains are planned. All other flight services and trains would be introduced in due course. There is no politics in it.”