As India's biggest repatriation exercise 'Vande Bharat' Mission kick-started on Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has arranged around 3,343 rooms in 88 hotels to quarantine evacuees. According to a statement by the BMC, the 88 hotels include all categories- 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, 5-star, apart from apartment hotels and OYOs.
Reportedly, out of the total 64 evacuation flights under the Mission, seven flights will be landing in Mumbai carrying around 1,900 passengers. The statement further added that the passengers will come from Bangladesh, Philippines, Singapore, Britain, Malaysia, and the United States.
In a major relief for Indians stranded abroad, the Centre on Monday announced that their travel will be arranged via aircraft and naval ships in a phased manner. The Ministry of Home Affairs also issued the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the movement of the returnees. The mission will go on for 7 days and will rescue stranded Indians from over 11 countries in 64 Air India flights carrying over 14,800 people. The flights will take off for 12 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Maldives, Singapore and the US.
According to the SOP, those wishing 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'll 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.
As per the MHA, 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 ANI Inputs)