Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Why only one flight to TN so far, ask desperate Tamils stranded in the UK

Chennai: Hundreds of people from Tamil Nadu stranded in the United Kingdom for over two months now are desperately seeking the government's intervention for flights to get back home. They say while a few flights have been organised so far to states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, only one has been arranged to Tamil Nadu.

Most of those stranded are students and people who went there for medical treatment or on business, apart from tourists.
Talking to The New Indian Express over phone, a 22-year-old from Warwick said, "My father, residing at Madurai, is suffering from heart disease and doctors said he only has a few months to live. My mother is feeling helpless and I am stuck here. We have tried a lot of ways to get back but nothing seems to work."

More than 300 Tamils stranded in the UK are trying to get back. They have written numerous petitions and even protested outside the Indian High Commission in London but there has been no response. Only one flight has departed from the UK to Tamil Nadu with 300 passengers.

"I am a PhD student and my college shut down long ago. We only have online classes now and the university said we could go back home. I am struggling for money to stay here. Also, when the UK witnessed a sharp spike in cases, all other countries sent flights to evacuate their nationals. Our country also sent, but nothing from Tamil Nadu. We are ready to fly to another state in India also and quarantine there. We just want to get back home," said Shyamala Surendran currently residing in Bristol.
Similarly, 30-year-old Shobana Rajesh moved to London in February to work in an IT company and had thought her family too can move there in a few months. But now, she has been stranded there for three months now. "I have children aged two and four. It is heartbreaking when they make video calls asking me to recite stories and poems. I thought we would shift here for a better life, but it has only become miserable forcing us further into debt," Shobana said as she broke into tears.
27/05/20 KV Navya/New Indian Express
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