MEA goes all out to repatriate stranded Indians in the second phase

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Published: May 9, 2020 12:54 PM

Till date there have been requests for repatriation from 67,833 which includes 34 per cent of 22,470 students, 30 per cent of 15,815 migrant workers, 9,250 short-term visa holders faced with the expiry of visas.

coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, india rescue operations, vande bharat mission, indian evacuees, stranded citizens return, MEA rescue operationsThere are seven flights marked for the repatriation of Indians from four airports in the US. (Representational image)

From 12 countries around 15,000 Indian citizens onboard 64 flights and naval ships are expected to return by next week. The Indians are being repatriated from countries in the neighbourhood, the US, and the Gulf Region first. “All the Indian Missions and Posts have been maintaining a regular touch with those who have registered to return to India. For registration, the MEA has created a dynamic online platform where requests are being uploaded on a regular basis,” official sources confirmed to Financial Express Online.

Till date there have been requests for repatriation from 67,833 which includes 34 per cent of 22,470 students, 30 per cent of 15,815 migrant workers, 9,250 short-term visa holders faced with the expiry of visas. There are 5,531 with who have cited medical emergency or seeking treatment for terminal illness, around 4,147 tourists are stranded overseas and then there are 3,041 pregnant women and the elderly and lastly, there are those who need to return due to family member’s death.

State-wise break up

The largest numbers of requests have come from Indian nations from Kerala –25,246 applications; Tamil Nadu -6,617; Maharashtra –4,341, Uttar Pradesh –3,715, Rajasthan –3,320; Telangana — 2,796; Karnataka –2,786; Andhra Pradesh –2,445; Gujarat –2,330; and Delhi –2,232.

Sources have also confirmed to Financial Express Online that “Starting next week 27 flights are scheduled to take off from the Gulf region with 11 from UAE (this includes the two flights that have already landed back), five from Saudi Arabia, five from Kuwait, two from Bahrain, two from Qatar and two from Oman.”

In addition, from the neighbourhood seven flights are scheduled to take off Bangladesh (this includes the flight that has already landed in Srinagar) and will carry passengers bound for Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

From South East Asia there will be five flights each from Singapore (including the one that has already landed) and the Philippines and four from Malaysia.

There are seven flights marked for the repatriation of Indians from four airports in the US – New York, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco and seven flights have been scheduled for London.

Smaller airports could be used for landing

The return flights will land at 14 airports across the country. Ten flights will land in Delhi; nine in Hyderabad; one in Trivandrum; four in Bengaluru; one in Kannur; nine in Chennai; one in Trichy, five in Ahmadabad, four in Mumbai; nine in Kochi; four in Kozhikode; three in Srinagar, one each in Lucknow and Amritsar.

Plans to expand Repatriation Operations

“From May 15 onwards discussions are going on with various Indian Missions and Posta and other ministries to send repatriation flights to Russia, CIS countries – especially Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan where Indian students and businessmen are stuck”, sources added.

Flights are also being planned for the European countries including Germany, France, Netherlands, and others.

Those stranded in Latin America

“The idea to reach out to maximum number of Indian citizens who are stranded and need to return on compelling reasons. Discussions are on to get the stranded Indians in the Latin American countries to the nearest airport through local flights. That way it will be easier to get them back either from the US or from Europe”.

Largest numbers of Indians are stranded in Brazil, followed by Mexico and in other countries like Chile or Colombia the numbers are not big. Yet the MEA through the missions is trying to ensure those stranded are taken care of.

Approval and delivery of the Hydroxychloroquine have been sent to various countries in the region.

Earlier this week, India gave approval for 2.50 metric ton of Hydroxychloroquine to Mexico.

Speaking to Financial Express Online, Indian ambassador to Mexico Manpreet Vohra said that “The government and the Indian Mission are seized of the wellbeing and safety of all our citizens in Mexico, including those who find themselves stranded here for various reasons. Most of them are here on Business or Work visas, though there are some tourists also who have been unable to return home.”

“My colleagues and I personally remain connected with them regularly through mobile, email and social media platforms. Fortunately, all of them are safe and well so far and are taking necessary precautions. No one has complained yet of any financial or other difficulties. Were these to arise, the Embassy would assist them appropriately and immediately, and we have assured them of this. Their main concern at present is how and when they may be able to return to India,” the Indian envoy added.

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