Web desk 08/06/2020
Although 3.89 lakh expatriates await flights to return to Kerala from the Gulf countries, there was provision only for 4,100 to reach home under the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission.
Oommen Chandy has written to Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan demanding maximum number of flights to Kerala under the Vande Bharat Mission.
There were only 19 flights for Keralites in the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission announced by the Centre by Air India from June 10 to July 1, and Air India Express from June 9 to June 23.
According to the schedule, Air India will send nine flights from Saudi Arabia and Air India Express 10 flights from countries other than Saudi Arabia till June 23. Only 4,100 passengers can be accommodated in the 19 flights.
As of May 4, 4.27 lakh people had registered in Norka. There are 3.89 lakh people registered from the Arabian Gulf countries alone. Of these, 2,04,263 are from the UAE.
The others had registered at the embassies. A total of 43,901 people, including Non-Resident Keralaites, arrived in Kerala by flights till June 6.
In this manner, it won’t possible to bring all the people who want to come back to Kerala even after a year.
There are many flights scheduled from the US, Europe and Russia but all of them are terminated in Delhi.
As of June 30, only three planes will fly to Kochi and two to Thiruvananthapuram. There are no flights to the other three airports in Kerala. Other states, however, have made many connection flights.
The expatriates arriving in Delhi are sent to hotels for quarantine. The cost is huge and beyond the means of students and those who have lost their jobs.
Mr. Chandy has urged the Chief Minister to take the initiate to get at least one daily flight operated to Kerala from New Delhi for those arriving in New Delhi from the US, Europe, Russia and Malaysia.
Before the airlines start international flights from July 1, it would be easily able to transport all the expatriates who wish to come to Kerala. Mr. Chandy requested that all the Keralites be repatriated in these three weeks in a timely manner.