A plane grounded in Jufal airport in Dolpa district pictured on Friday. Photo:Republica/Files
JUMLA, Dec 16: Heavy snowfall in the high hills of the Karnali region since Thursday evening has brought the air service to a complete halt. All the four airports of Karnali -- Jumla, Dolpa, Humla and Mugu airports -- remain closed. There is over a feet of snow on the runway of the airports.
Although Nepal Police, Nepal Army, Armed Police Force personnel and airport staffers are busy clearing the snow, the airport officials said it will take a few more days for the flights to resume because the snowfall has not stopped. Hundreds of passengers remain stranded at the airports without proper food and sleep. Remarkably, this is the peak season for the people of Karnali to move down to the tarai for several kinds of businesses. As they anticipated poor road conditions amid rains and snowfall, maximum number of people had opted to travel by air, but just to get trapped in another misery.
According to Gaurishankar Shah, Jumla Airport chief, flights have been halted since Thursday and he cannot say when they will resume. “Because it is still so cloudy and snowfall continues, flights may not resume soon. We cannot say anything about it,” he said. “Only if weather improves a little bit, snow on the runway can be cleared,” he added.
Flights of Tara, Sita, Summit and Nepal Airlines operate in Karnali. But they have not operated any flights since Thursday. With the airports closed, locals have demanded that the Gamgadhi road be made operational, which remains closed due to snow. Unexpectedly, cold weather has not only affected transportation, but businesses, schools and colleges also remain closed.