India: Expats in Kuwait wait for rescue flight to Trichy
Despite hundreds of Tamils still stranded in Kuwait following the coronavirus lockdown, not a single service has been operated so far by Air India Express under Vande Bharat mission to Trichy. Though rescue flights were expected in the fifth phase of the mission which began on August 2, it came as a dampener when Trichy didn’t figure in it.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss on Tuesday said that Tamils from India, stranded in Kuwait, should be immediately brought back, after reports of protests and subsequent police violence in camps where they are currently lodged.
In a statement, he said that it was disappointing to note that the Centre has not taken any efforts to bring back the Tamils despite several appeals.
In all, 49 services were operated from other countries to Trichy under Vande Bharat mission. Sources said about 20,000 Indians, mostly Tamils, stuck in Kuwait have been waiting for four months to return. Kuwait government had arranged eight services to Trichy, bringing 909 people via Kuwait Airlines. Jazeera Air and IndiGo Air brought back 1,810 passengers in 11 services. “However, the ticket fare and other expenses like Covid-19 test in Trichy, isolation at private hotels and food make it unaffordable.
Till August 3, 95 flights have brought 15,768 passengers to Trichy international airport on Vande Bharat mission. Kuwait Air, Jazeera Airlines and IndiGo have so far brought 2,719 Tamils from Kuwait. Yet, hundreds await in the country expecting the Indian government to operate Vande Bharat rescue flights.
Some services were operated to Chennai, said AB Khaleel Ahmed Baaqavee, general secretary of Kuwait Tamil Islamic Committee (K-Tic). “We expected that at least the phase five of the mission would include our destination. However, repeated representations made by our association have been ignored”