Pune resident Shubham Mane landed in India on Wednesday morning after being stranded in France for almost two months. The 21-year-old was doing an internship in hotel management when he got stuck due to the immediate lockdown announced in France in light of the pandemic. With sheer luck and lot of frenzied calls by his family, former Union minister and Rajya Sabha member Suresh Prabhu came to his aid.
“Shubham had left for France in December last year for a six-month hotel management internship at Marcoles. However, once we wrapped ourselves around the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, we pre-booked him a ticket for March 20 to return home. Unfortunately, all the airlines were called off on March 18 and hence he was stuck there, along with Yougansh Sharma from Delhi and another roommate from Spain,” said Sanjeev Ram Mane, Shubham’s father.
Soon after the lockdown in France, the internship was called off, and so was the stipend that the two boys were receiving. “It was frustrating and difficult in the beginning. Our parents were worried and we had no help, plus the lockdown kept extending. After a point, we got it under control and I think we handled it well considering it was a first time experience for both of us,” said Shubham.
While Yougansh (20) managed to get a seat home under the Vande Bharat Mission Air India from Paris to New Delhi, Shubham unfortunately could not make the cut. It is then his father reached out to several leaders, ministers and office bearers for help. “I got in touch with Dr Datta Kohinkar, chief trustee of Vishwashakti International Foundation and gave him a detailed account. He immediately called Suresh Prabhu sir, who then requested the French Ministry to help Shubham. I would like to express my gratitude to Prabhu sir to help us in such trying times,” said Sanjeev Mane.
After all the necessary formalities by the embassies, both Shubham and Yougansh boarded a flight to New Delhi on Tuesday. Both have been put under mandatory quarantine for seven days before they can go home. “…All social distancing protocols were maintained and we were provided with all protective equipments like masks and face covers along with hand sanitisers,” said Yougansh.
“The lockdown in France was difficult for the boys and to add to the misery, my son lost his wallet. With the stipend cut off, they could not fend for their basic necessities. When my son got his name on the list and Shubham did not, I was disheartened and that is when I suggested his father to reach out to officials in the ministry so that both the boys can return home together. I am glad that all worked out through the intervention by Suresh Prabhu,” said Sanjeev Sharma, Yougansh’s father
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