A CHARTERED flight on Sunday returned to Pune with 179 people stranded in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The passengers included 83 residents of Pune and 23 from other towns in the state. Nine were from other states.
The flight was scheduled to arrive at 12.40 pm, but was delayed by around 30 minutes. All Pune residents have been sent to institutional quarantine at hotels arranged by the PMC. Those from other cities such as Mumbai, Nashik, Aurangabad, Thane, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur and Sangli have been sent to their destinations in state transport buses. Some passengers from Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have also been sent home.
These chartered flights — another carrying 180 passengers arrived in Mumbai on Saturday — are a result of the efforts made by Rahul Tulpule, a 44-year-old Dubai-based businessman. Tulpule stepped in to coordinate the return of hundreds of Indians, registered with the Indian diplomatic mission in the UAE, to fly back to Mumbai and Pune. This was even after three phases of the government’s Vande Bharat Mission.
“I am thankful to the consulate general of India in Dubai and the Maharashtra government for helping us out to arrange for the evacuation of stranded Indians. There are some in the group who paid for their own tickets and others who were helped,” said Tulpule, vice-president of Gulf Maharashtra Business Forum.
After arrival, all passengers underwent thermal screening. The officials of Customs, Immigration and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were equipped with PPE.
“We arranged for six PMPML buses for Pune, six MSRTC buses for other districts and cabs for some passengers who asked for it. We have checked all vehicles going outside from Pune,” said Sanjay Patil, Deputy RTO, Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Among those who have returned are Indians who have lost their jobs recently, pregnant women without insurance, senior citizens and several who went to the country for short visits or to hunt for jobs and have medical issues. There are also those who have lost someone in the family, and those who needed to return. The first of several chartered repatriation flights came to Mumbai on Saturday evening with 180 people.
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