Barely hours after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that there would be no resumption in domestic flight operations from Monday, state's minority affairs minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik said that the state authorities had agreed to allow 25 take-offs and landings every day for domestic flights from Mumbai, news agency ANI reported.
Malik was cited in news reports as saying that he had spoken to the state's chief secretary on the decision.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had earlier in the day expressed caution over Centre’s proposal to open up the domestic aviation sector from Monday, saying during a video address that the western state needed more time to prepare for resuming domestic flight services. “The deadline can’t be lifted even by May 31, the day when the current round of lockdown ends,” said Thackeray.
Highlighting that he had had a conversation with Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Thackeray said that though he understood the importance of resuming domestic flights, Maharashtra needed more time (to allow domestic flights operations).
Thackeray said that significant movement of people could be expected once the flight operations begin and the picture would be clearer only by May 31. “We can't say that lockdown will be over by May 31,” he said, adding that the authorities needed to be more careful during the monsoon season.
Around a third of the coronavirus infections in India have surfaced from Maharashtra, which has reported 47,190 of the overall 1.31 lakh infections in the country.
While the state governments are constitutionally obliged to toe the line of Centre when it comes to resuming flights, they do have the power to keep the incoming passengers from exiting the airport premises.
(The article was last updated at 7:05 PM)