Karunanidhi burial: Officials handle airport rush with preparations

Chennai: While Rajaji Hall and Anna samadhi were the most happening places in the city yesterday, another major hotspot was Chennai airport.

With so many VIPs making their way to Chennai to pay their tributes to DMK leader and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi at his funeral, the airport was buzzing with activity.

Airport director G Chandramouli told News Today that 12 private jets utilised the airport in the past few days.

He said the airport was prepared to handle the situation with the experience that it had gained during the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the crisis during Vardah cyclone.

Chandramouli said since the schedule of the VIPs and VVIPs were already known, proper arrangements were made accordingly.

He said it was ensured that VIP movement did not cause any problem for regular passengers. Most flights were on time which also made our work easy, he said..

“As soon as the announcement of Karunanidhi’s demise was made, we had a meeting during which each department was instructed on the work that should be carried out,” he said.

On 7 August, after Karunanidhi was declared dead, passengers came in early and the same thing happened yesterday as well.

“We instructed CISF officials to allow and accommodate passengers inside the terminal. Additional chairs were provided and canteen and eateries inside the terminal were asked to prepare extra food. Officers were assigned in strategic spots to guide passengers,” he added.

Talking about the arrangements made for the airport staff, he said,”All employees, including private workers, were asked to stay back at the airport until someone relieved them. Proper arrangements were made for their stay and food as well.”

Elaborating on the availability of transportation, he said,”Though bus, auto and cab services were stopped, passengers used the Metro services, which came as a big relief.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers from several states were among those who flew to the city to pay their tributes to the DMK leader.