Monday, May 04, 2020

Why the government cannot arrange more charter flights to take us home,” asks many Kiwis stranded in India

Many Kiwis still stranded in India after missing out on the three government charter flights are asking exasperatingly, “Why can't the government arrange for more charter flights to take us home.”

Recently the government has organized three charter flights that brought home hundreds of Kiwis stranded in India with each passenger picking up the partial cost of arranging a charter flight at $5500 per seat.
While the government’s action has brought smiles and happiness on the faces of many who managed to return back on the flights, however, those who believed they met the eligibility criteria and still not accepted for the flight are feeling frustrated and calling for more compassionate action from the government.

The Indian Weekender is in touch with a large number of stranded Kiwis who are largely citizens and residents who say they met the eligibility criteria and also located in the proximity of main airports (New Delhi) and still were not selected for a seat in charter flights back home.
Shikha Sharma, one such Kiwi stranded in the Punjab region from where many people were selected and transferred to New Delhi, is coordinating with a group of more than hundred hopefuls who are not only eligible but also ready to bear the high cost of returning home.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender Shikha said, “We are around 150 people, mostly citizens and residents and some work visa holders who have secured an exception for entering into NZ borders by Immigration New Zealand, who are desperately waiting for another charter flight to take us home.”

“Earlier we understood the fact that the MFAT was sending provisional acceptance to citizens and priority- passengers, such as those with kids and elders.”
“However we were also hopeful that we will be getting a fair chance as well to return home,” Ms Shikha said.

Gunjan Gera, a resident, who works as Horticulture-biological control scientist and production team leader in Auckland currently stranded in India along with her husband, asked frustratingly why the government cannot send another flight.
04/05/20 Sandeep Singh/Indian Weekender
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