More than 400 Indian students including nearly 100 Malayali students are stranded in different parts of the UK
Even as the Air India is planning to operate special flights to London between April 4 and April 7 to fly out foreigners stranded in the country, the authorities are yet to make any announcement on evacuating Indians stuck in the UK. The Air India officials said that the national career will also operate flights on Mumbai-London route between April 5 and April 7.
More than 400 Indian students including nearly 100 Malayali students are stranded in different parts of the UK who have requested the Union government to arrange special flight to evacuate them immediately.
“I got the news unofficially yesterday, but their plan is to drop British in the UK and fly back without any passengers. I contacted the Indian High commission regarding the special flights. But they said there is no news and asked not to be believe any rumours,” said one of the stranded students Akhil Dharmaraj, a marine engineer hailing from Kerala.
“However, they have asked us to wait for updates,” added Akhil, who went to South Shields UK for competency exams along with a group of friends.
The students, many of whom are in the UK for short term courses or examinations, are worried over the escalating number of Covid19 cases in the country and the possible scarcity of essential goods.
“Currently, we are able to find food though there is a limit on the number of items to be purchased. We are not able to get sanitisers, gloves and face masks here as there is acute shortage of such materials. We have to wait in long queues for entry into the supermarkets without any protection. Almost all of us are living in shared apartments with common kitchen, bathroom facilities and it would impossible to keep someone isolated if they develop any symptoms. Many of us are the supporting members of our families back home with elderly parents and small children. As the condition has turned worse in India too, we are stuck here indefinitely and worried over the return journey,” he added.
There are many students from other states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Telengana who are unable to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Air India has already conducted special flights to Israel and Germany to fly out foreigners stranded in India during the lockdown. Though regular flight services have been suspended, cargo flights and flights specially permitted by the aviation regulator DGCA are operating during the period.
Many foreigners are stranded in India following the suspension of all domestic and international commercial passenger flights due to the 21 day national lockdown announced in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
Last week, German nationals stranded in Kerala were evacuated in a special flight from Thiruvananthapuram international airport as per the direction of German Embassy facilitated by the state government.
Recently, the bodies of Kerala expatriates who passed away in UAE were repatriated to Kerala in the cargo flights operating between Kerala and UAE.