Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
More than 60,000 Indians have been repatriated through flights operated by Air India or chartered flights of other airlines under the Vande Bharat Mission launched on May 7 to repatriate Indians stranded in the UAE due to Covid-19 situation.
More than 200 chartered flights have been facilitated by the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, and the Consulate General of India, Dubai, under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Government of India.
Now, the Government of India has stipulated new guidelines to operate chartered flights According to the new guidelines, airlines providing charter services are responsible to coordinate with various state governments of India on Covid-19 testing, quarantine and flight scheduling requirements. Ever since charter flights were allowed for repatriation, India’s Ministry of External Affairs was coordinating these with state governments through the Indian missions.
According to the Consulate General of India, Dubai, chartered flights from Thursday onwards will be operated under the new Standard Operating Procedures to repatriate Indians from the UAE
As per the new guidelines, the chartering entities will have to choose an Air Transport Operator (ATO) on their own.
The ATOs will have to send the Indian state, where the destination airport is located, their flight plans, State clearance forms and passenger manifests directly, with a copy to the Indian Embassy or Consulate in the UAE While the Embassy or Consulate will vet the passenger manifest, the ATO simultaneously should proceed to get State Clearance for the flight directly in writing.
Once the state clearance is in hand, the ATO will need to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the manifest from the Embassy or the Consulate, followed by application for DGCA flight clearance.
States and ATOs manage flight schedule, frequency with regard to all arriving passengers. They should also coordinate with each other where chartered flights have mixed domicile passengers. If required, chartering entities will need to finalise quarantine arrangements directly with the States.
The first wave of a massive exercise to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Indians stuck abroad began Thursday, with two flights departing from the United Arab Emirates.
India’s Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan inaugurated the first-ever Upskilling and Training Centre for Indian blue-collar workers in the UAE at Delhi Private School (DPS), Jebel Ali, Dubai, on Wednesday.
Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan launched the PBSK mobile app in Dubai on Thursday. The app, developed by the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), will help distressed Indian expatriates in the UAE to reach the PBSK for help.
These included Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Jo?o Lourenço, President of Angola; Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana; Mohamed Hussein Robley, Prime Minister of Somalia, and His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea — the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora — added she was feeling better but had not made any future plans after getting enlarged on bail — in her 10th attempt since September 2016.
"There is no point in talking about how hard life is," said A.P.D. Sumanavathi, a 60-year-old woman selling fruit and vegetables in the Pettah market in Colombo, the commercial capital, on Friday.