Jeddah: A Dubai-based NRI family from Telangana State enjoyed the rare privilege of having the entire Airbus-320 aircraft to themselves at no extra cost when they took an Air Arabia flight from Hyderabad to Sharjah recently.
This once-in-a-lifetime pleasant experience for the family came at a time when thousands of Gulf NRIs stranded in India are desperate to return to their workplaces but have not been successful in their attempts on account of Covid-19 and consequent travel restrictions.
On August 3, the Air Arabia flight from Hyderabad to Sharjah, with a seating capacity of 180 passengers, took off from Shamshabad International Airport with just three passengers, Bandam Srinivas Reddy, his wife Dr Potu Harita Reddy and their son, Sanjith Reddy, besides the crew. Other passengers on the flight were not permitted to board on account of Covid protocol while some had cancelled their travel plans.
Dr Harita Reddy, who works as a physician in Dubai, Srinivas Reddy, a native of Karimnagar and country head of Tech Mahindra, and their their two sons travelled to India to attend Haritha Reddy’s father’s last rites in Warangal three months ago. Since then, the family has been stranded in India.
“I made desperate attempts to return to Dubai in the past three months, but could not succeed,” Srinivas Reddy told Telangana Today over phone.
The couple were vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer in Dubai and were confident of meeting the prime requirements for return to the UAE. “We were vaccinated in Dubai in January, 2021, and had since then visited Telangana three times to visit my ailing father in-law. We traveled last on April 18, and on April 24, the UAE banned all incoming flights from India,” Srinivas Reddy said.
After booking and cancelling tickets six times due to the uncertainty around resumption of flights, Dr. Haritha sought permission from the Dubai Health Authority to return since UAE was allowing health care professionals and their families to return to the country. Subsequently, the family returned on August 4.
Srinivas Reddy said for the first time since 1987 when he left his home town, he spent such a long time (three months) in Karimnagar. “The town has developed rapidly. Statehood for Telangana has obviously led to rapid urbanisation of the State,” he observed.
The technocrat said the farming sector has scaled new heights in the State besides rapid growth in IT sector.
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