BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday asked state officials to open a helpdesk at Mumbai airport to assist Odisha students returning from war-torn Ukraine. A state helpdesk is already operating at Delhi airport to coordinate and take care of the returning students. Naveen also directed officials to ensure that buses of the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) drop the students at their homes after they reach Bhubaneswar.
The Chief Minister held a high-level meeting with Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, Special Relief Commissioner Pradip Jena and Resident Commissioner, New Delhi, Ravi Kant on the steps taken to facilitate the safe return of students stranded in Ukraine. Naveen also talked to some of the students who arrived in Delhi today via video conference from the airport. “We are so relieved that you are back. We are working on evacuating other students of Odisha as soon as possible,” he said.
Nine students from Odisha have returned to India in the last three days including three on Monday. The Chief Minister assured them that efforts are being stepped up to ensure everyone’s safe return. “I have already talked to the Union Home Minister and External Affairs Minister,” he said and added, if necessary he will again contact them.
One of the students told the Chief Minister that most of the students are in Kharkiv and it is important that they are evacuated from there as it has no transportation facility now.The Resident Commissioner said another 500 are still stuck in the conflict zones. “We are in touch with the students. Our teams are working in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation to get them back at the earliest,” he said.