The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given special permission to bring 414 Indian seafarers stranded in Italy back to the country through three special chartered flights. This comes after the second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission, which started on May 7 to bring stranded Indian nationals back home from other countries, was initiated on Saturday. Under the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission a total of 149 flights, including feeder flights, will be operated to bring back Indians from 40 countries.
As per sources, three flights carrying the seafarers will land directly at Dabolim airport. However, the MHA said that it is subject to production of a no-objection certificate/permission from competent authority in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"MHA has no objection to carrying out immigration functions in respect of 414 Indian nationals coming to India (Dabolim Airport, Goa) from Italy through three special chartered B-737 aircraft arranged by Costa Cruise company (tentatively on May 20, 2020)," the MHA said in a memorandum.
The airline operator shall also strictly adhere to the guidelines regarding COVID-19 issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of External Affairs and DGCA, the memorandum said.
According to the SOP, those who who wish to return to India must register themselves with the Indian Missions in the country where they are stranded, along with necessary details as prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs. They will have to travel to India by non-scheduled commercial flights that will be arranged by the Civil Aviation Ministry (MoCA) and naval ships to be arranged by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA). Only those crew/staff, who have tested negative for COVID-19, will be allowed to operate the flight/ship.
The MHA said priority will be given to compelling cases in distress including migrant workers/labourers who have been laid off, short term visa holders faced with the expiry of visa, persons with medical emergencies/ pregnant women/ elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member and students. The cost of travel, as specified by the MoCA and DMA will be borne by such travellers.
(With Inputs from ANI)
(Image credits: PTI)