Evacuation of Indians to continue for many weeks as list of applicants increases

Akhilesh Suman

Stranded Indian students being facilitated in Dhaka to return home under Vande Bharat mission.

Stranded Indian students being facilitated in Dhaka to return to India.

Despite the government clearly signalling that evacuation of Indians from abroad will be limited to a few categories of people and countries, requests of people, as well as the number of countries from which they wish to return, are increasing.

“Evacuation will take place in the next phases from nations like Germany, Russia, Spain, Central Asian countries and South East Asian countries like Thailand. The second phase of evacuation will start from May 15,” sources told Rajya Sabha TV.

So far 67,833 requests for repatriation have been registered. Of these students account for 22,470 or 34%, workers are 15,815 or 30%, short-term visa holders faced with expiry of visas are 9,250, people with medical emergency or seeking treatment for terminal illness are 5,531, stranded tourists 4,147, pregnant women and elderly people 3,041 and those returning due to the death of a family member are 1,112.

State-wise, the numbers of people wishing to return are: 25,246 from Kerala, 6,617 from Tamil Nadu, 4,341 from Maharashtra, 3,715 from Uttar Pradesh, 3,320 from Rajasthan, 2,796 from Telangana, 2,786 from Karnataka, 2,445 from Andhra Pradesh, 2,330 from Gujarat and 2,232 from Delhi.

In Phase 1, 64 flights will bring back nearly 15,000 people from 12 countries to 14 airports across India between May 7 and May 15.

Till May 8, Friday, four flights had already landed in India.

On May 7, Air India flight IX-452 brought 181 passengers from Abu Dhabi to Kochi, while Air India flight IX-344 returned from Dubai to Kozhikode with 182 passengers. All passengers from UAE underwent rapid anti-body tests before departure.

On May 8, AI 381 came back with 234 passengers from Singapore to Delhi while AI 1242 brought 168 passengers from Dhaka to Srinagar.

In the first week, 27 flights will leave for the Gulf countries. Eleven of these are to UAE including the two that have already landed, five each to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and two each to Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Some flights are also bringing back people from the neighbouring countries, 7 from Bangladesh, including one that has already landed with passengers bound for Srinagar, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Similarly, 14 flights will take off from South-East Asia, five each from Singapore, including the one that has already landed, and the Philippines and four from Malaysia.

During the first week, seven flights will take off from four airports in U.S.A, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. Seven more will leave from London in U.K.

These flights will land at 14 airports across India during the first week, 10 flights from Delhi, nine each from Hyderabad, Kochi, and Chennai, five from Ahmadabad, four each from Kozhikode, Mumbai and Bengaluru, three from Srinagar and one each from Trivandrum and Kannur, Trichy, Lucknow and Amritsar.

Similarly in the evacuation operation Samudra Setu via sea, the INS Jalashwa set sail on May 8 from Male to Kochi with approximately 700 people on board.

It is expected to arrive at Kochi in the forenoon of May 10, depending on sailing conditions.

INS Magar is expected to set sail from Male with 200 returnees on May 10. It will reach Kochi on May 12. Both ships could make another journey from Male to Tuticorin later.

Ministry of External Affairs has developed a dynamic online platform on which requests received by Indian Missions from Indian nationals wishing to return are being regularly uploaded.