According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), more flights are being readied to repatriate the stranded citizens from around the world.
Amidst of repatriating its stranded citizens from the neighbouring countries, India has handed over the 3rd tranche of emergency medical assistance to Bangladesh which consists of RT-PCR Covid-19 test kits capable of running 30,000 tests. It was handed over to the Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen by Indian envoy to Bangladesh Riva Das. On day two of repatriation, students stranded in Bangladesh are returning home on the first Air India flight from Dhaka which will land in Srinagar later in the day. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), more flights are being readied to repatriate the stranded citizens from around the world.
Air India flights are soon going to come back with Indian citizens from countries including Singapore, UAE, Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia. “This has been possible due to the tremendous coordination between MEA, Indian Missions & Posts, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defence as well as other government agencies and ministries,” said a senior officer.
Operation Samudra Setu
The immigration and processing of the baggage of Indian citizens have already started in the Maldives. Once the process is over they will be ferried to the Male port to get on to Indian Navy’s INS Jalashwa.
For the first time ever, $ 40 dollars per person is being charged for repatriation of Indians from Male onboard a military vessel.
According to the Indian High Commission in the Maldives, “The $40 per head `evacuation service charge’ will be collected from the Indians who are embarking on the naval ships.”
Tweeting about the $40 fee, the High Commission stated that it will be collected at the end of immigration process at the Velana international airport
Boarding of 750 passengers has started and the ship will head back to Kochi port later in the day. Depending on the weather and wind conditions, it will take one and a half days to reach here. The distance between Kochi and Maldives is 1000 Km. The second ship under Operation Samudra Setu INS Magar is expected to reach the Maldives on May 10.
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Why the $ 40 fee?
Sources in MEA and Defence had confirmed that since this is “not evacuation but repatriation, those coming either on flights or onboard the naval ships will have to pay.” This decision was taken after consultations between the MEA and the Department of Military Affairs which is being headed by CDS Gen Bipin Rawat.
SOPs to be followed on the ships
Certain modifications have been made on both the ships which will carry back the Indians. As part of the stringent SOPs laid down for COVID-19, the ships have been zoned, in an effort to ensure there is no intermingling with the crew and the passengers.
Only asymptomatic passengers are allowed.
Food and medical facilities will be provided to all on board.
More about INS Jalashwa
It is Navy’s Landing Platform Dock (LPD) and has a capacity to generate 3MW of electrical power.
It can generate 60,000 gallons (212 tonnes) of freshwater a day.
Has extensive medical facilities.
Onboard the ship, besides the medical and administrative support staff, there COVID-19 protection material as well.
Schedule of Flight Arrivals
May 8 Fight Arrivals
Riyadh-Calicut: 2030 hrs
Dhaka-Srinagar: 1345 hrs
Bahrain-Cochin: 2330 hrs
Dubai-Chennai: 2010 hrs
Dubai-Chennai: 0025 hrs