Ahead of Tamil Nadu’s annual harvest festival Pongal, the Chennai International Airport has requested residents who live near the airport to avoid burning objects which create thick smoke in the air.
The announcement which was made through the official Twitter handle of Chennai International Airport said that in 2018 the airport faced extensive cancellations, delays and diversions of flights due to a thick blanket of smoke that reduced visibility around the airport. However, the extent of disruption due to smoke from Bhogi bonfire was lesser in 2019 due to intense sensitisation among the people who lived in close proximity to the airport, the announcement added.
Kindly take note !!! pic.twitter.com/8fKAi1CcQf— Chennai (MAA) Airport (@aaichnairport) January 13, 2020
Requesting the people to avoid burning waste materials as is customary during Bhogi, the announcement said that it was a precautionary measure to avoid flight disruptions. It also added that the airport has distributed pamphlets to sensitise the people about Bhogi bonfires.
Bhogi will be celebrated in Tamil Nadu on January 14 this year and it is customary for people to burn old, used objects. This is seen as a symbol of letting go of the old and heralding in the new. Bhogi is also the first day of the Pongal festival celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu with much fervour.
In 2019, as many as 20 flights departing from Chennai were rescheduled or cancelled by the airport due to thick smoke that had engulfed the airport. Similarly, arrivals were also delayed due to low visibility around the airport.
Meanwhile, the Greater Chennai Corporation has ordered all the meat shops in the city to down their shutters on January 16 due to Thiruvalluvar day. The GCC’s statement also prohibits departmental stores and other shops from selling processed meat on January16.