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COVID-19: Parents press Centre to evacuate students stranded abroad

As calls for evacuations of Indians stranded across the world grow, the Centre has started preparing to bring them back.

Published: 27th April 2020 08:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th April 2020 08:34 AM   |  A+A-

File picture of Indian students in Wuhan before boarding a special flight

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As calls for evacuations of Indians stranded across the world grow, the Centre has started preparing to bring them back. Indians abroad have been posting videos, writing emails to authorities and doing everything in their power to come back home or to ensure their loved ones return.

One such parent is Sridharan, director of a Chennai-based property development company. His son is a student of a top university in the US. “We have formed a group of 500 people on WhatsApp and are writing to the Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister regularly to bring back our stranded children from all over the US. There are 18-19 year olds who are stranded and are temporarily living with friends. We hope the government will bring them back soon while duly following all the medical procedures,” he said.

The WhatsApp group called ‘Airlift for Indian Students’ has some students and parents of children stranded in the US. Sridharan said the parents were ready to pay for the flights of the students and also for quarantine facilities once they are repatriated.

“We understand that migrant workers are also stranded and the government should bear their expenses. But we are willing to pay for our children’s return and quarantine. After they return, they can be quarantined in hotels like the Delhi government is doing. If anyone violates their quarantine, their passports should be revoked,” he said. Meanwhile, sources said the Centre is planning to operate special flights early next month to bring back stranded Indians from across the world.

Similar requests for repatriation has come from around 100 Indians stranded in Saudi Arabia. “We are a group of about 100 Indian citizens who are writing from Saudi Arabia. Some of us are on short term business visas, some of us are on Iqama but without a job and income, some of us are elder citizens who have visited their children. Many in this group have been languishing as they have been fired from jobs and have not been paid for a few months. All of us are in Saudi Arabia and wish to be repatriated to India,” the letter written by Associate Director of KPMG India Arun Krishnan on behalf of the stranded people stated.

The Gulf region is home to around 9 million Indians while the US has around 1.6 million Indian students. Sources said there will be more people — not just stranded Indians — who will return once the lockdown is lifted. “States like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu will see a huge influx of people once the restrictions are lifted,” sources said and added that a separate control room would be set up to facilitate their return. The MEA operates another 24X7 control room manned by around 75 officials to address the grievances of the stranded Indians. It has received over 3,000 calls and 25,000 emails.

Hospital beds and quarantine facilities
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has asked authorities to make special arrangements of hospital beds and quarantine facilities for those Indians who will be brought back from different parts of the world

100 stuck in Saudi Arabia seek airlifting
Repatriation requests have come from around 100 Indians stranded in Saudi Arabia, too. Many in this group have been languishing as they have been fired from jobs and have not been paid for a few months

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  • Deeleep Rout

    My daughter is currently a student in the USA and is stranded. How can I join the whatsapp group?
    1 month ago reply
  • Sayeesh Dushyant Nagajjanavar

    How to access this service. Can anybody help? I am stuck in America.
    1 month ago reply
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