Kolkata airport now functional, Air India hangar damaged

Kolkata, May 21 (IANS) Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport recommenced operations from Thursday afternoon after it was inundated by heavy rains due to Cyclone ‘Amphan'.

According to sources at the airport, operations recommenced at noon with the arrival of a Russian chartered plane for evacuation of stranded Russian nationals.

However, some parts of the airport still remain inundated with water, which is being pumped out.

An Air India official told IANS: “Our hangar has suffered structural damage due to the storm. Ground teams are trying to assess the damage. However, due to the conditions there, the work is going at a slow speed.”

“None of our aircraft was damaged in this storm.”

Further, Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal told reporters that two aircraft of the national carrier parked at the Kolkata airport were not damaged while a private aircraft which was parked in the Air India's hangar was damaged.

The super cyclone had a severe impact in West Bengal as it left at least 72 people dead and damaged property to a great extent.

Scenes from Kolkata airport showed the damage left behind as large airliners stood in a river of water. Houses were flattened, a massive number of trees uprooted as many feared damage to iconic structures in the city as well, as reports still pour in.

With landlines severed and no electricity for hours through the raging storm, many tweeted photos of destruction to property, waterlogging right inside their kitchen as they paddled through pools of water.

The severe cyclonic storm on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.

The super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) moved “north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7 N and Longitude 89.5 E about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)”, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

“It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours,” the IMD said.

It said that the Cyclone is now centred over Bangladesh and it will have no adverse impact over West Bengal and Odisha — a good sign as it cut a swathe through northern Odisha before bearing down on West Bengal where it claimed scores of lives, flattened houses and cast aside trees and electricity poles like matchsticks in six-and-a-half hours of monstrous fury that left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised.

While Odisha was spared the worst of Amphan, the Sunderbans region and six south Bengal districts felt the full impact of winds gusting at 155-165 kmph along with torrential rain after the cyclone made landfall near Sagar Island around 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday and entered Kolkata, about a 100 km north, arou nd 5 p.m.

Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.



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