Having started the phased evacuation process, the government has found that one-third of Indians stranded abroad who have registered for repatriation flights are students. A quarter of them are migrant workers, who form the second largest group, followed by those who had short-term visas (tourism or business).
This is the outcome of the analysis done by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as it processes requests from 67,833 Indians, who have registered so far to fly back from 12 countries.
“These are requests which are specific in nature – that one wants to get on a specific flight,” a source said.
As per data available until Friday evening, requests from students (22,470) form 33 per cent of the total, while those from migrant workers (15,815) is 23 per cent. There are 9,250 requests from short-term visa-holders faced with visa expiry, 5,531 from people faced with medical emergency or seeking treatment for terminal illness, followed by requests by tourists stranded abroad (4,147), pregnant women and the elderly (3,041), and those required to return due to death of a family member (1,112).
Analysis of state-wise break-up of repatriation requests shows Kerala, at 25,246, is at the top, followed by Tamil Nadu (6,617), Maharashtra (4,341), and Uttar Pradesh (3,715), Rajasthan (3,320), Telangana (2,796), Karnataka (2,786), Andhra Pradesh (2,445), Gujarat (2,330), and Delhi (2,232).
Sixty-four flights carrying nearly 15,000 people returning from 12 countries are expected to land at 14 airports across the country from May 7 to 15. The third phase of lockdown ends on May 17.
As of now, four flights have landed. After two Air India flights from Abu Dhabi and Dubai arrived on Thursday at Kochi (with 181 passengers) and Kozhikode (182 passengers), respectively, on Friday 234 passengers arrived from Singapore to Delhi and 168 people from Dhaka to Srinagar.
Twenty-seven flights will take off from the Gulf; seven from Bangladesh; 14 from Southeast Asia (five each from Singapore and the Philippines and four from Malaysia), and seven flights take from four US airports: New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco.
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