Jeddah: The first batch of stranded Telangana NRIs has been repatriated from the Gulf region with an Air India special flight, under the Vande Bharat mission, took off from Kuwait on Saturday after a long delay and uncertainty.
The flight to Hyderabad was scheduled to depart on Friday, however, due to some reasons, it left only a day later. Over 60,000 NRIs have applied to be flown back to home from Kuwait. Every passenger goes through a rapid COVID-19 screening before being allowed to board the flight. According to passengers, no physical distancing was maintained inside the aircraft.
“I have been waiting to return home for a month now. Finally, I am going home but only after days of confusion and anxiety,” says Kottakapu Haripriya, a young language instructor of the German language, who headed for Hyderabad after the end of her teaching job contract in Kuwait. “I feel pain and tense as there was no clear information about our travel till the last-moment purchase of the ticket,” she told ‘Telangana Today’ over the phone.
Haripriya added she felt sad that some of the other Hyderabadi women could not afford the journey to back home.
“The ticket fare is one of the prime reasons that is hindering the travel plan of many Indian workers in the country,” said Narendar Rachakonda, a quality engineer in a clean fuel project in Kuwait. His project was over two months ago and since then was waiting to fly home.
Hailing from Karimnagar district, he said quarantine charges had also compelled many blue-collar workers to think twice about flying back.
Some of the passengers, living in the areas that are in fully locked due to the curfew, were being ferried to the airport by the Indian Embassy in special buses. Tickets were being sold to the applicants at the airport also to fill the capacity, according to sources.
Though numerous people from Hyderabad were eager to return, conditions that were imposed earlier by the Embassy had dashed their hopes. However, officials relaxed it later.
The Indians who can afford the fare and quarantine charges only opted to fly back home whereas scores of people remain anxiously waiting for their turn to reach the homeland.
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