India will commence flights to bring back Indians stranded abroad from Thursday. The evacuation will be carried out in phases, said a press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday. Around 15,000 stranded Indians are expected to be flown back to India in 64 flights in the first week of the government’s mammoth exercise to evacuate stranded Indians from abroad.

The passengers will be charged for the flights, said union civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri. Adding charges is a commercial service being carried out under “special circumstances”. The minister said the exchequer does not have the space to pay for repatriation of more than 2,00,000 estimated stranded Indians.

Some of the fares (one way) from the Gulf countries such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha to Kochi, Kerala range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000. Rescue flights from London to India will cost Rs 50,000 while flights from the United States to India have been priced at Rs 1,00,000.

The first phase of the evacuation will begin from May 7 to May 13, evacuating Indians from 12 countries: the UEA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Bangladesh, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom and the United States, according to the first week’s flight plan reviewed by leading daily.

India will be evacuating 2,100 citizens from the United States and 2,000 from the UAE in the first week. For now, only Air India flights – 40 from the national carrier and 24 from its subsidiary Air India express – will be deployed.

Well, we hope that the evacuation mission goes successful.


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