KOCHI: The union government has chalked out a detailed plan to evacuate Non-Resident Indians (NRI) stranded in various countries due to the suspension of flights in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to sources, the evacuation will start on Thursday with two flights from the UAE transporting 409 passengers to Kerala. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy on Monday night deployed three vessels for the evacuation operation.
While two vessels - amphibious transport dock INS Jalaswa and warfare vessel INS Magar set sails for the Maldives, another vessel INS Shardul attached to Southern Naval Command set sails for Dubai.
"The Navy has deployed three vessels - two to Maldives and one to Dubai on Monday night. INS Shardul is expected to dock at Dubai on Thursday and the details of evacuation will be decided by the consulate.
"It will take two days for the vessel to reach Kochi from Dubai. Details of the evacuation plan and deployment of more ships are expected to be announced by today afternoon," Navy spokesperson told TNIE.
Meanwhile, the Ministry for Civil Aviation has unveiled a detailed schedule for the evacuation of NRIs from various countries. As per schedule 64 flights will be operated aiming to bring 15000 Indians from May 7 to May 14.
The first flight carrying 209 passengers from Abu Dhabi in the UAE will touch down at Cochin International Airport on May 7.
Another flight will transport 200 passengers from Dubai to Kozhikode in Kerala on the same day.
Flights will be operated from the UAE, USA, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kuwait and other countries to various Indian cities facilitating smooth evacuation, said sources.