Thursday, June 25, 2020

Send more repatriation flights or start commercial service, stranded expats in UAE tell Indian government

Dubai: Some are jobless, some are unpaid. Some are stranded in an unfamiliar land while some need emergency medical treatment. Some are waiting to give birth while some have lost their loved ones. But if there’s one thing that’s common to all of them, it’s their desperation to reach home in India.
As thousands of Indian expats in the UAE wait for their turn to fly home, they have called upon their home country to send more repatriation flights or start commercial flight services.
Hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways, their plea follows India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s promise to “significantly ramp up” repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission from the UAE and other Gulf countries.
However, Gulf News has learnt that only six flights have been added to the third phase from the UAE as per the schedule revised on Thursday. Two flights to Delhi and one each to Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, and Chennai have been added.
Those waiting to go back said that is not enough for the thousands wanting to be repatriated.
Several expats, who have posted their painful stories on social media and others who spoke to Gulf News, saidthey are mentally stressed and depressed due to the slow pace in which the repatriation is happening.
According to the latest figures released, some 60,000 people out of the more than 450,000 who have registered for repatriation had been flown home through Air India and chartered flights of other airlines between May 7 and June 20.
25/06/20 Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News
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