A total of 169 Indians were brought back to Kolkata from Dhaka in an Air India flight under the Centre's mega evacuation exercise, Vande Bharat Mission on Monday. The flight was the first such operating flight that landed in Kolkata amid the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The passengers boarded the special Air India flight from Dhaka's Shah Hazratjalal International Airport at 12:08 hours and landed some 40 minutes later at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. All passengers were screened after arrival and then were ferried to their respective quarantine centres by the buses organized by the state.
Pleased to welcome the first spl flight under #VBM to West Bengal. AI 0231 has landed in Kolkata, carrying 169 Indians frm Dhaka.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 18, 2020
Thank @airindiain @MoCA_GoI & WB Govt for support & coordination.
Appreciate the effort by HC @rivagdas & Team @ihcdhaka. #VandeBharatMission
Twelve hotels had been identified as pay and use quarantine centres by the state government and the passengers have been given an option of either choosing between the hotels or government quarantine centres. For two weeks, all of these passengers have to put up at their choice of place.
The Home Department of West Bengal government on Friday announced that it is all set to welcome any flights with stranded Indians. It said, "Government of West Bengal is keen to welcome back our people stranded in different countries and has long back communicated its agreement as well as quarantine arrangements details, etc to GOI for special international inbound journeys. Letters attached. Bengal awaits flights."
The Indian government is bringing back over 32,000 stranded Indians from 31 countries under the second phase of the mega evacuation mission from May 16 to 22. The government launched the 'Vande Bharat Mission' on May 7 to evacuate Indians stranded in various countries due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced on Saturday that over 13,000 Indian nationals have returned to the country under the first phase of the Mission.