Chief minister Nitish Kumar missed his date with Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, as the aircraft that was supposed to fly him to Calcutta could not take off in the morning because of thick fog cover over Patna.
The chief minister was not the only one to suffer the vagaries of weather though. Many others had to endure changes in schedule because of inclement weather.
The chief minister’s flight was supposed to take off at 10.50am but it could be airborne only around 2.30pm. His plane was the first one to take off from Patna airport on Friday.
Like him, Udaipur-based businessman Vibhu Raj was stuck for nearly five hours at Patna airport because his New Delhi-bound Jet Airways flight 9W 728 was delayed by nearly five hours.
“I missed the connecting flight from Delhi to Udaipur,” he complained.
He added: “As both my flights (Patna-New Delhi and New Delhi-Udaipur) were booked with the same airline, I have been promised a compensation ticket tomorrow (Saturday). But that does not solve my problem. I have to join office in the morning itself. Now, I shall be late for work.
“I would also have to spend more than Rs 1,000 to put up at a hotel in New Delhi.”
Jet Airways also cancelled its Calcutta-bound flight S2 4403 on Friday. While those who were supposed to fly remained grounded, the fog also hit train passengers.
The operation of trains was also badly affected on Friday. East Central Railway cancelled two trains — Rajendra Nagar-Anand Vihar Express (12387/12388) and Patna-Anand Vihar special train (02393).
Several other trains like Magadh Express (12401), Gyanganga Express (11304) and Jan Nayak Express (15211) ran late by more than three hours.
The weekend, however, could be clearer than the week has been, claimed weather experts. Ashish Sen, director (radar), India Meteorology Department, Patna, said: “An anti-cyclonic circulation had led to thick fog cover in the morning and evening over Patna and across the entire state during the past few days. Initially, we had expected that it would neutralise by Thursday evening.”
He added: “Though the circulation had begun to neutralise by Wednesday afternoon, the rate was very slow. As a result, there was fog over the state even this morning (Friday).” The senior Met department officer added that the anti-cyclonic circulation has been neutralised by Friday evening.
The chill factor though is expected to become more acute over the next few days. “There would be mist or light fog in the morning for the next few days. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 21°C and 11°C respectively,” said Sen.
He added: “The wind speed would be around 4-6kmph, which is normal. But the moist southerly wind would be replaced by a dry westerly blast. The change in the wind direction might make people feel the chill.”
As winter settles down in the city, experts have advised people to take care (see chart). Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, professor of physiology at Patna Medical College and Hospital said: “People should take care to prevent cold-related diseases.”