Tuesday, May 12, 2020

First flight from tri-state left for India as part of biggest COVID-19 repatriation plan

Ruhshad Bharda, a student from New York University, is about to go through security check at Liberty International Airport, Newark, on his way to India May 10th night, Mother’s Day.

“I am very relieved,” Bharda, who is enrolled at NYU for a Masters in Technology, said. “I almost did not get a ticket but then somehow Air India and the Consulate made it possible.”

Bharda had “some family issue” he did not want to detail, and now he can be there to attend to it. He expects to be back in New York by Aug. 10, 2020, when his second year begins.
According to Bharda, things were being managed well at the airport and people were maintaining social distance. He is not sure about what will be the seating pattern inside the plane.

He is okay with the mandated 14-day quarantine he will have to undergo when he disembarks in India. And he is paying a hefty sum for both the flight and the quarantine. There’s no free lunch for those getting on to India’s massive #VandeBharatMission for evacuating some 15,000 citizens in 12 countries between May 9 and 15.

The next flight out of Liberty International will be on  May 14.
According to the latest May 12, 2020 information from the Government of India, 6037 Indians have been flown back in 31 inbound flights operated by Air India and Air India Express in the 5 days beginning from 7th May 2020.

The first Air India flight out of the United States bound for India carrying citizens of that country back home left San Francisco May 9, 2020. That went smoothly going by tweets and photos from India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

India’s plan began unfolding when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted May 5, he was mobilizing the mass evacuation of close to 15,000 Indians from 12 countries starting May 7 to 15, on 64 flights and several ships.
India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty, told News India Times 20,000 people in the U.S. had registered, (give or take a few thousand due to duplication), within the first couple of days on the form available on the Indian Embassy website.

The hashtag for the program (#VandeBharatMission) went viral around the world with concerned Indian citizens hoping they could be included.

The 12 countries selected for what could be just the first tranche of the evacuation plan, include United States, UAE, United Kingdom, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
12/05/20 News India
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