Once the cases started increasing rapidly in the country, the Centre announced a lockdown on March 24, leaving lakhs of Indians stranded, with nowhere to go.
Coronavirus lockdown: More than five lakh Keralites stranded in other states or outside the country have registered themselves on the online portal of the Non-Resident Keralites Association (NORKA). Out of these, 4 lakh non resident Keralites are stuck outside the country ever since a nationwide lockdown was first announced in India on March 24. Now, with the government planning to rescue all the stranded citizens, the NORKA portal allowed non-resident Keralites to register themselves from the last week of April.
The Government of India is finalising the plans to rescue the citizens in the six Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) countries, which include Soudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Oman. According to a report from news agency PTI, out of the NRI Keralites who have registered themselves, over 61,000 lost their jobs while nearly 10,000 are pregnant women.
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NORKA said that the details of the registrants would be shared with the Union Ministry of External Affairs as well as the embassies of the NRI Keralites’ embassies.
In the earlier phase of the coronavirus outbreak, India operated several special flights to facilitate the evacuation of Indians stranded in various countries, including China, Italy and Iran. However, once the cases started increasing rapidly in the country, the Centre announced a lockdown on March 24. Since the beginning of the lockdown, which has now been extended for a second time, several people across the world have requested evacuation.
Apart from that, Kerala, a sizable portion of whose population migrates to the Gulf, has also been requesting the central government to carry out rescue operations. Clearly, NORKA registrations have soared and the state government has repeatedly assured non-Keralite residents that they will be given prompt assistance to be brought back to the home state at the earliest.