Govt to bring back 15,000 Indians from 12 countries this week

With the Government of India initiating its mega plan to bring back stranded Indians from abroad, over 15,000 Indian nationals from 12 countries are expected to land in India in next one week. The evacuation is part of the relief measures provided to Indian nationals amid a countrywide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. Official sources told IANS that the Ministry of External Affairs has developed a dynamic online platform on which requests received by Indian Missions from Indian nationals wishing to return are regularly being uploaded. As per reports, Air India will operate 64 repatriation flights for a week from 7 May, while the Indian Navy has deployed two ships to bring back thousands of its nationals from abroad. So far, sources said, 67,833 requests for repatriation have been registered.

These include, requests from 34 per cent of all 22,470 students, 30 per cent of all 15,815 migrant workers, 9,250 short-term visa holders faced with expiry of visas, 5,531 with medical emergency or seeking treatment for terminal illness, 4,147 tourists stranded abroad, 3,041 pregnant women and the elderly and 1,112 of those required to return due to death of a family member. The largest number of requests came from Indian nationals of Kerala with 25,246 applications, followed by 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 said 64 Air India flights carrying Indian nationals will land at 14 airports across India during from 7-15 May. On Thursday, 181 passengers from Abu Dhabi and 182 passengers from Dubai have already returned in four Air India flights to Kochi and Kozhikode respectively. On Friday, 234 Indian nationals returned from Singapore to Delhi and 168 from Dhaka to Srinagar.

All passengers from UAE underwent rapid anti-body tests before departure. Official sources said, 27 flights will take off from the Gulf region next week with 11 from UAE (including the two that have already landed), five from Saudi Arabia, five from Kuwait, two from Bahrain, two from Qatar and two from Oman. From the neighbourhood, seven flights will take off from Bangladesh (including the one that has already landed) carrying passengers bound for Srinagar, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Similarly, sources said, 14 flights are scheduled to bring Indians from SouthEast Asia, with five flights each from Singapore (including the one that has already landed) and the Philippines and four from Malaysia. Seven flights have been allotted for evacuation of Indians from four airports in the US — New York, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco. Another seven flights have been assigned for passengers in London in the UK.

Sources said Indian nationals are expected to land at 14 airports across India in ten flights arriving in Delhi, nine in Hyderabad, nine in Kochi, four in Kozhikode, one in Trivandrum, one in Kannur, nine in Chennai, one in Trichy, five in Ahmadabad, four in Mumbai, three in Srinagar, four in Bengaluru, one in Lucknow and one in Amritsar. INS Jalashwa has set sail on 8 May from Male to Kochi with about 700 returnees on board, sources said. INS Magar is likely to set sail from Male with 200 returnees on 10 May to reach Kochi two days later

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