September 19, 2020 | 2:12 AM IST
Mega evacuation

Mega evacuation mission begins tomorrow; about 2 lakh Indians to return home

The mega-evacuation process of bringing back over 2,00,000 stranded Indians from different countries will be held in phases beginning this Thursday. In the first phase, from May 7 to May 13, about 14,800 stranded asymptomatic Indian passengers will be allowed to board the 64 flights. Upon reaching India, they would be quarantined for 14 days, said the Home Ministry.

The Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, on Tuesday, said that the passengers will have to pay the flight charges as it is ‘a commercial service being carried out in special circumstances’. The minister said that paying for the evacuees was not possible as the exchequer would not be able to bear the expenditure.
As of now, Air India flights including 24 from its subsidiary Air India express have been deployed for the mission. However, later private airlines could also be roped in to the cause. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is ready with its 30 aircraft, including Boeing Co.'s C-17 Globemaster and Lockheed Martin Corp's C-130J Super Hercules for the mission.

In the first phase, the stranded Indians from the UEA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Bangladesh, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom and the United States will be brought. The passenger filled flights will return to Kerala, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Srinagar, Trichy, Amritsar, and Lucknow.

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