Passengers of an Air India flight bound for Goa, who were stranded at the Mumbai airport and agitating over delay in departure, were provided food after intervention by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, a passenger said Friday. The passenger, Ketan Bhatikar, a functionary of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), was one of the fliers on the delayed flight and called Sawant, who is in New Delhi, for help Thursday midnight.
However, the state-run carrier claimed it arranged food for the passengers after the flight got delayed. "A system outage at Air India had left many passengers, including me, stranded at the Mumbai international airport Thursday night.
"The flight, which was scheduled to leave at 9.30 pm for Goa, was delayed till 11.30 pm. When the flight landed at the Mumbai airport for Goa-bound passengers to board, it could not take-off due to various reasons, Bhatikar said. The Goa-bound passengers remained stranded there till past midnight, which angered them and they started protesting at the airport, he said.
"I called Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant who answered my phone within two rings at 1.13 am. He called me back five times, arranged food for all passengers (from a restaurant located in airport premises). "And exactly at 1.27 am, he told me that the flight was ready to take-off in 30 minutes, Bhatikar said, adding the aircraft landed in Goa one hour after departure.
Sawant also ensured the stranded passengers were provided necessary information by Air India, the MGP leader said. Videos widely shared on social media show the passengers cheering and praising Sawant for his gesture and timely intervention. Bhatikar was all praise for the Goa CM for taking his phone call late in the night and sorting out everything quickly to end passengers' woes. "I felt great and proud that the Goa CM not only picked up my late night call, but got everything sorted out within 35 minutes and ensured the passengers did not suffer further," the MGP functionary said.
When contacted, the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) confirmed the incident. A CMO official said Sawant, who is in New Delhi to meet NITI Aayog officials and Union ministers, co-ordinated with various authorities when he got the call about the stranded passengers.
When contacted, an Air India spokesman said the flight was delayed due to adverse weather conditions. He also claimed that food to the stranded passengers was provided by the state-run airline. "An Air India Goa flight from Mumbai was delayed Thursday night because of bad weather. Since, the departure was delayed, the passengers were provided food by the airline," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)