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Tourists stranded in Bali

Calcutta: The volcanic eruption in Bali has left several Calcuttans stranded on the Indonesian holiday island.

Bali airport was shut on Monday after Mount Agung spewed volcanic ash high into the sky, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of flights.

AirAsia's Calcutta-Bali flight, which had its maiden take-off on October 3, was among those that did not operate on Sunday and Monday. The flight scheduled for Tuesday also stands cancelled, an official of the airlinesaid.

Since this is currently the only direct flight from Calcutta to Bali, tourists from the city stranded there have little option but to count the days.

Sources in AirAsia said flights to Bali hadn't been running full lately because the expected winter rush of tourists was still some weeks away. As and when the airport reopens - even if temporarily - the stranded passengers would be taken to Kuala Lumpur and put on flights to Calcutta from there.

"AirAsia will continue to be in close coordination with the authorities and provide updates on the latest developments," the airline said in a statement.

The budget airline operates the flight from Calcutta to Denpasar, the capital of Bali, four days a week with a stopover in Kuala Lumpur. The flight takes off on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

Tour operators said Bali, known for its surf, beaches and temples, has become one of the top tourism choices in Asia for Calcuttans."It's a very popular choice among honeymooners. There are a lot of repeat tourists too," said Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) of the Travel Agents' Federation of India.

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