Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Stranded Indians in US ask India to operate more evacuation flights

Houston: Thousands of Indians, including students, stranded in the US for weeks due to the COVID-19 related travel restrictions, are urging the government to operate additional flights to evacuate them and add more departure cities like Houston and Dallas with sizeable Indian population.

The worst affected people by this humanitarian crisis are the students, and emergency medical tourists, who need evacuation badly to avoid further financial strain. There are around 30,000 students alone in the Houston Consular region, comprising eight US states with top universities.

Many students have left just before the lockdown and those who could not are ready to go after their semester exams last week.

An Indian national, who lost his close family and is desperately wanting to be home said, "If Air India can fly and charge exorbitant prices in the name of helping stranded Indians, then why doesn't India let private airlines fly. This is not a help, instead, it's robbing people, charging round trip fare for one way and still not letting the deserving people go," he said.

One of the netizens, Prasad Bhalekar tweeted that if India was really worried, then one has to plan according to that. "Please show the real percentage (5 to 10 per cent Phase I & II) of evacuation to Indians," he tweeted.

Alia, an Indian in New York, who is an Overseas Citizen Of India (OCI) card holder, just lost her father and has been awaiting permission to board the evacuation flight. "My father passed away in Mumbai on April 26 and the elderly mother is helpless and in need of medical care. Please help me get to Mumbai urgently. There is no reply from the Indian Embassy in the US. Please help," she said.

"At the time of a pandemic, who would like to leave their home and visit India, if this was not an emergency," another OCI passport holder said.
18/05/20 New Indian Express

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