NEW DELHI: The government on Friday said that the second phase of repatriating Indians stranded abroad will begin on May 15 with focus on countries like Russia, Ukraine and some European nations.
“The slight delay in launching the second phase is because we want to get the crews tested. The second phase will begin on May 15 and will focus on areas where the concentration of Indians is higher. This includes Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc. This time feeder flights would also be used,” sources said.
As for the first phase, naval ship INS Jalashwa has departed Maldives for Kochi with 700 Indians on board. It is likely to reach Kochi on May 10 forenoon.
“The second ship, INS Magar, will bring back 200 Indians from the Maldives and is likely to reach Kochi on May 12,” sources said, adding more ships will ferry Indians between the Maldives and Tuticorin, if needed.
The second phase will also utilise smaller airports like Tirupati, Vijayawada, Bodh Gaya, Kannur and Mangaluru.
“Our focus is to bring people back as close to their homes as possible. We will set up immigration centres at these airports for their benefit,” sources said.
On the number of registrations to return home, sources said a total of 67,833 had been received.
“Of them, 34% (22,470) came from students, while migrant workers made up 30% (15,815). They were followed by short-term visa holders facing expiry of visas (9,250) and those with a medical emergency (5,531).”
Most requests from Kerala (25,246) followed by TN (6,617), Maha-rashtra (4,341), UP (3,715) and Rajasthan (3,320).