64 Flights To Bring Stranded Indians From Abroad: Govt

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday announced that the government will operate at least 64 flights between May 7 and May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indians stranded in other countries, in one of the country’s biggest evacuations during the coronavirus outbreak.

“64 flights will be operated in the first week of operation to bring stranded Indians from different countries from May 7 to May 13,” Puri said addressing a video press conference here.

“The operation of these 64 flights has become possible only because we have received full cooperation of the state governments. The flights which will come in will not be normal commercial flights,” Puri added.

The minister said, the rates fixed for the journey from London to Mumbai is Rs 50,000. Similarly for those who are returning from London to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Delhi will also pay Rs 50,000 for the journey. “For Chicago-Delhi-Hyderabad the rough cost will be about Rs 1 lakh. For Dhaka-Delhi flight, rough cost will be Rs 12,000,” he said.

Sharing further details, Puri said that out of the total 64 flights, 15 from seven countries will arrive in Kerala bringing in a total number of 3,150 passengers.

Besides this, 11 flights from nine countries would be arriving in Tamil Nadu, which makes it 2,150 passengers.

“Seven flights from six countries will come to Maharashtra which comes to 1,900 passengers. 11 flights from nine countries are scheduled to come to the national capital region Delhi, but that may take one or two days extra because we need to put in arrangements for these passengers along with the government’s concern, so there may delay in this,” the civil aviation minister said.

“Seven flights from six countries, involving 1,750 passengers to Telangana; Five flights from five countries, totalling 1,100 passengers to Gujarat; one flight to Punjab carrying 200 passengers; three flights to Jammu and Kashmir (600 passengers); three flights from three countries to Karnataka (650 passengers); one flight with 200 passengers to Uttar Pradesh,” he added.

On arrival, all the passengers will be screened and will be subjected to a 14 days quarantine period, Puri stated.

“The present exercise is a limited exercise to address the problems of those of our citizens who are in foreign countries and who are distressed and find themselves stranded. Either because their visas have run out or they are being deported, or they went to these countries just before the lockdown for work and need to get back,” the minister said.

“So, a comprehensive plan has been drawn up to address the particular issue of those of our citizens who find themselves distressed and have been stranded in foreign countries. Now if you have to bring 64 flights in at a time when we are under lockdown, this necessarily involves working out very detailed arrangements with a number of authorities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Puri also stated that normal domestic and international flights will continue to remain suspended till May 17.

“I am reiterating that so that there is no conceptual confusion between what we are planning to do now and the resumption of normal civil aviation operations,” he said.


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