VIJAYAWADA: The first flight as part of Vande Bharat Mission Phase-2 to Vijayawada has brought back 145 non-resident Telugus (NRTs) to the state. The Air India flight took off from London with 323 on-board and reached Gannavaram Airport at 8.10 am Wednesday. One more flight from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia reached the airport late night.
As many as 178 passengers deboarded at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, the London flight’s first stop. As all the 145 Telugu expatriates opted for paid quarantine, those from Krishna district and neighbouring states were taken to DV Manor; others were sent back to their respective districts through nine APSRTC buses.
“Every returnee will be quarantined for 14 days at their respective district headquarters. After that, they will be in home isolation for another two weeks and health officials will keep a regular tab on them,” said M Venkat, president of Andhra Pradesh Non Resident Telugu Society (APNRTS). All returnees were screened before boarding the flight and after their arrival in Vijayawada.
“We tried to make use of whatever limited infrastructure are available at the airport. As Vijayawada’s is a make-shift airport, it is not possible to make lavish arrangements here. However, we made sure that all arrangements as per the state government’s Covid-19 protocol are in place,” said airport director G Madhusudan Rao.
Damodar, one of the passengers, said: “I had planned to come to AP in March and take my family with me back to London as I work there. Their visas were also arranged. But then coronavirus happened and I was stuck there. During the phase-1 of the Vande Bharat Mission, I applied multiple times, but the High Commission rejected my requests. Better late than never, my request was finally approved in the phase-2.” “There are thousands of Telugus, mainly students, tourists and employees, stranded in England ever since a lockdown came into effect. However, only a few have been brought back till now,” he observed, and requested the authorities to operate more such flights. Meanwhile, two returnees have requested the government to allow them to attend the funeral of a family member in Warangal.
149 from Doha arrive at Vizag airport
Visakhapatnam: As many as 149 Indians arrived at Vizag airport from Doha on Wednesday. All of them were tested for coronoavirus at the screening camp set up on the premises. Of the 149, 48 passengers are from Vizag, 19 from Srikakulam, 11 from Vizianagaram, 13 from East Godavari, nine from Kadapa, eight from Kurnool, six from West Godavari, five each from Krishna and Nellore, four from Prakasam, two from Anantapur and one from Guntur. On Tuesday, 314 were brought back to Vizag from Abu Dhabi and Manila in two flights