New Delhi: After completing the first phase of Vande Bharat mission which started on May 7, the Indian government is expected to bring back stranded Indian nationals home amid the novel coronavirus-induced lockdown from other countries like Russia, Germany, Thailand, France, Spain, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
At present, the Centre has decided to operate 64 Air India flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 stranded Indians from 12 countries such as the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
According to official sources, a total of 67,833 people have been found eligible to be brought back home under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. According to the sources, of the total 67,833 people, who have been found to fit into the government’s criteria of having “compelling reasons” to be brought back, include 22,470 students, 15,815 migrant workers, 9,250 people facing expiry of visas and 5,531 seeking evacuation on the ground of medical emergency.
Here’s the state-wise break-up of repatriation requests, Kerala (25,246), 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).
The passengers boarding the repatriation flights are being charged. For London-Delhi flight, a passenger will have to pay Rs 50,000 and on a Dhaka-Delhi flight the travel fare has been fixed at Rs 12,000.
India launched its biggest evacuation process on May 7 and first two Air India Express flights landed at Kochi and Kozhikode in Kerala with 363 stranded Indians from UAE. “Proud and privileged to carry out the first medical mission titled ‘Vande Matram”, the pilot of Kochi bound flight said.
India has been under lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. All commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.
The first and second phase of lockdown in India was from March 25 to April 14 and April 15 to May 3, respectively. The third phase began from May 4 and would end on May 17.