The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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All stalled on western front

The monsoon mayhem in Mumbai sparked chaos at air and rail terminals in Calcutta on Day II of disruption.

Connectivity with the commercial capital was all but snapped, as cell phone lines, airport runways and train tracks were drowned in the downpour.

South Eastern Railway officials said four trains ' the Geetanjali Express, Kurla Express, Mumbai Mail via Nagpur and the Jnaneswari Express ' were cancelled on Wednesday, while Eastern Railway scrapped the Howrah-Mumbai Mail via Allahabad.

South Eastern Railway officials warned that the four trains would stand cancelled even on Thursday.

'Most of the railway tracks leading to Mumbai are inundated. Unless the situation improves, we cannot operate these trains,' claimed a senior South Eastern Railway officer.

A notice announcing the cancellations was pasted on the notice boards at Howrah, where several agitated passengers had gathered to catch trains to the west coast.

The scene was no different at the airport. According to airport officials, some 65-70 international passengers travelling via Mumbai were stranded, as all flights to the Maharashtra capital remained suspended.

Those flying to Europe or the US via Mumbai were forced to alter flight paths. 'The Air-India flight to New York via Mumbai, scheduled to depart early on Thursday, has been cancelled. I have been asked to camp at the Air-India office tomorrow, as they could divert the flight via Delhi. It's complete chaos,' said a young NGO worker headed out of Calcutta.

On the domestic front, Indian Airlines, Sahara and Jet were all forced to suspend Mumbai operations.

Among those failing to fly into Calcutta was actress Soha Ali Khan for a programme of Frankfinn airhostess academy, of which she is the brand ambassador. There were several others, who were having to defer their Calcutta trip hour by hour.

Singer Anuradha Paudwal joined a growing list of those waiting for the first flight to take off from Calcutta to Mumbai.

If travel agents were left ruing their sudden slump in flight fortunes, it was a mixed bag for star hotels.

At The Park, there were no arrivals from Mumbai on Wednesday but 'more than 14 extensions' of guests forced to stay on in the city.

The Hyatt Regency lost out on 30 arrivals from Mumbai, and had to be content with 18 extensions.

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