New Delhi [India], May 8 (ANI): Five Air India flights carrying Indian nationals stranded abroad will arrive from Singapore, Bangladesh and some countries in the Middle East at airports in India later on Friday.
The repatriation operation is being conducted under India's ambitious 'Vande Bharat' mission to bring back around 15,000 stranded citizens from overseas.
An Air India flight to bring back Indians from Singapore departed at 8:30 am for Delhi and is expected to arrive here at 11:35 am later today.
A second flight to bring stranded nationals from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia will depart from Kozhikode in Kerala at around 12:45 pm and will arrive back at 8:30 pm.
A third repatriation flight to Dhaka in Bangladesh is scheduled to depart from 11 am from Delhi airport and is expected to arrive at 1 pm.
The fourth and fifth flights will depart from Kochi and Chennai for the Bahrainian capital of Manama and Dubai at 4:30 pm and 4:50 pm and are scheduled to return at 11:30 pm and 8:30 pm, respectively.
Two flights from the UAE carrying a total of 354 Indian nationals took off from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Kochi and Kozhikode respectively in Kerala on Thursday evening, the first of the repatriation flights under the 'Vande Bharat' mission.
The passengers will board the respective flights after conducting COVID-19 rapid tests at the airports. Elaborate arrangements have been made at various airports across India, including the installations of thermal temperature scanning systems, for the passengers arriving from abroad.
India on Monday announced it will begin a phased repatriation of its citizens stranded abroad from May 7. The government said that Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad amid the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
Starting from May 7, 64 flights will take off for 12 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Maldives, Singapore and the US.
Over 3 lakh people have registered with Indian missions in the Gulf region to be repatriated home, according to official sources. However, not everyone but only "those with compelling grounds to return will be brought back," sources involved in the exercise said.
Those who fit the parameters include people facing deportation, migrant workers who have been laid off, short-term visa holders, people with medical emergencies, pregnant women, elderly persons, a person who has lost a near one, tourists and students whose colleges and hostels are shut. (ANI)