Dubai: Giving hope for hundreds of thousands of Indians stranded in the UAE and elsewhere, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has promised to “significantly ramp up” repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission.
Puri made this announcement in a Tweet on Monday night. The post indicated that the Indian government would add more flights for repatriating stranded Indians from the UAE and other GCC countries.
“Took decisions to significantly ramp up evacuation operations from Gulf countries, Singapore, Malaysia & Africa at a meeting to review operations under Vande Bharat Mission with Secy @MoCA_GoI, CMD @airindiain, Chairman @AAI_Official & officials of @MEAIndia, @PMOIndia ,” the minister stated in the tweet.
However, Indian missions in the UAE are yet to receive further information on this, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Gulf News on Tuesday.
It is expected that further announcements about more flights would be made by New Delhi soon.
Private airlines join mission
Last week, India announced that private airlines from the country, which had already joined the charter services for repatriation, will also take part in its repatriation services under the Vande Bharat Mission.
So far only Air India and Air India Express were operating the special repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission.
As per the new schedule announced for phase three of the Mission, IndiGo and Go Air will operate services from the UAE starting from June 20.
The lone Go Air flight is from Abu Dhabi to Ahmedabad on June 20. IndiGo will operate various services from Dubai and Abu Dhabi from June 22 to 25.
These include the following services, according to the revised schedule published on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Abu Dhabi-Gaya (June 22), Dubai-Mumbai-Mumbai-Nagpur (June 23), Dubai-Kolkata-Kolkata-Bhubaneshwar (June 23), Abu Dhabi-Kolkata (June 23), Abu Dhabi-Visakhapatnam (June 24), Dubai-Delhi-Delhi-Gaya (June 24) and Abu Dhabi-Bhubaneswar (June 25).
The revised schedule as on June 13 shows that 10 flights allocated to destinations in Kerala were cut down from the previously announced 44 flights. The list currently shows 34 flights to Kerala in the third phase.
The Indian missions in the UAE have received registration for repatriation from over 420,000 Indians in the UAE, which is more than 12 per cent of the total population of the Indian expats in the country.
Kerala, which has sent the largest number of Indian expats to the UAE, tops the list of states to which stranded citizens have registered to return.