Friday, June 19, 2020

Rajasthani puppeteers, diving students on Vande Bharat flight from S Africa

Johannesburg: A group of puppet artists from Rajasthan and several students visiting South Africa on a sea diving training were among 247 passengers on an Air India flight that left for New Delhi from here on Wednesday evening.
 The flight was the part of India’s Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate its citizens stick abroad amid the COVID-19 lockdown. There was an infant too on board.
"Most of these Indian citizens were the ones who could not be accommodated on the outbound South African Airways (SAA) flight which went to Delhi and Mumbai recently to bring back South Africans stranded there," said India’s Consul General in Johannesburg Anju Ranjan.
"The criteria used to select passengers included compelling reasons such as medical conditions, pregnant women, the elderly and people whose tourist visas had expired," Ranjan said.
The Rajasthani group of five puppetry experts had been participating in a workshop when the lockdown was imposed in India and got stuck here. "We were able to get them onto the flight, thanks to a sponsorship from Satguru Travel," Ranjan said.
The majority of passengers were from the economic hub of Johannesburg and neighbouring cities, besides some others from Durban and Cape Town. Among those from Durban were Indian staffers of an MSC cruise ship and some traders from India.
19/06/20 PTI/Outlook
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