The Kolkata airport authorities started making announcements on Thursday asking all passengers to wear masks.
Officials said they have set up a surveillance team that would from Friday slap fines on anyone found without a face covering inside the terminal building.
Signage has been put up at the entrance to the terminal and other parts of the building, stating that no one can enter without wearing a mask.
The directorate general of civil aviation on Wednesday issued a directive for strict compliance of Covid-19 protocol at the airports and inside aircraft, following a Delhi High Court order.
The directive, which coincides with a fresh rise in the number of Covid cases in several parts of the country, has asked airports to increase public announcements and step up surveillance to ensure that passengers in terminals follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, including properly wearing a mask.
Inside the aircraft, if any flyer refuses to wear a mask even after repeated requests, the person can be treated as an unruly passenger and his or her name included on the no-fly list of airlines, said an official at the Kolkata airport.
Like several parts of the country, West Bengal, too, has been witnessing an uptick in the number of daily new Covid cases.
On Thursday, June 9, West Bengal recorded 95 new Covid cases and a positivity rate of 1.24 per cent.
One month back, on May 9, the number of daily new Covid cases was 21 and the positivity rate was 0.41 per cent.
On June 1, the state recorded 39 new Covid cases and a positivity rate of 0.49 per cent.
Public health experts have warned that the number of new cases in West Bengal could increase manifold and advised people to wear masks.
“There is an apprehension that many people are not getting themselves tested because of mild symptoms, So, the actual number of infected people could be much more. I feel the number will sharply increase in about a fortnight from now,” said public health expert Abhijit Chowdhury, who is the coordinator of the Mamata Banerjee government’s Covid management team.
At the Kolkata airport, officials said they would start slapping fines on passengers spotted without masks from Friday.
“We have started making announcements and implementing other directives of the DGCA regarding masks,” said airport director C. Pattabhi.
Sources said the surveillance team consisting of Airports Authority of India personnel, which was set up during the second wave of the pandemic in 2021, had been revived.
“From Friday, those who will not comply with the DGCA order will be first requested to abide by the directives. If anyone refuses to do so, he or she will be fined Rs 100,” said an official.
The airport authorities had started slapping such fines around May last year. The practice was discontinued after the number of Covid cases dropped.