CEC Sunil Arora stuck in US due to suspension of flights amid coronavirus

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Updated: Apr 21, 2020 6:54 PM

India has suspended all domestic and international flights till May 3. While New Delhi was proactively taking measures including issuing travel advisories and screening at airports, it announced the suspension of all incoming international flights only on March 19.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.

Coronavirus lockdown: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has been stuck in the United States due to the suspension of international flights from and to India. He was on a personal visit to the US and was scheduled to return to India on April 4. However, New Delhi suspended all international flights in the third week of March as the number of coronavirus cases started rising.

An Election Commission spokesperson said that the CEC had gone to the US on a personal visit on March 10. “He was scheduled to return on April 4. But since the flights are not operational, he is unable to return yet,” the spokesperson said. When asked whether the CEC is working from there, the spokesperson said: “Yes, he is in touch with the commission.” The Election Commission has one chief election commissioner (Sunil Arora) and two election commissioners — Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra.

India has suspended all domestic and international flights till May 3. While New Delhi was proactively taking measures including issuing travel advisories and screening at airports, it announced the suspension of all incoming international flights only on March 19. This order was effective from March 22.

Three days later, the Centre announced the extension of suspension of all incoming international flights to India till April 14. Now, the date has been extended to May 3. The United States too has suspended all its international flights in the wake of pandemic. The US is the worst hit country in the world with total coronavirus cases nearing 8 lakh.

Last Monday, the EC announced that its chief commissioner and two other commissioners will take a 30 per cent cut in their basic pay for one year to assist the Centre in its fight against Coronavirus. “Commission has decided to contribute in the form of voluntary reduction of thirty per cent in the basic salary paid by the Election Commission of India to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra for a period of one year commencing 1st April, 2020,” it said in a statement.

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