Fare will put evacuees in a tough spot

Former diplomat recalls how the govt. bore expenses during the Gulf war

The Indian flights to operate from this week to evacuate nationals from all over the world will be commercial in nature. Informed sources on Tuesday clarified that the largest-ever evacuation of expat Indians from abroad will be carried out by "non scheduled commercial, flights" that will allow only those passengers who can buy tickets. The commercial condition has drawn criticism from a veteran diplomat who played a crucial role in evacuation of Indians during the 1990 Gulf crisis, The sources indicated that they are aware of the hard ships that expats are facing because of global economic downturn and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saying the States and Central Ministries will receive data base for future employment of the returning expats who have lost jobs in the Gulf. 1990 operation The planned evacuation of Indians from the Gulf is set To commence from May 7 but unlike the operation of 1990 Gulf War the Indian na nationals will have to pay for boarding the aircraft that will fly them home. Accord ing to available information,passengers boarding the Kuwait Ahmedabad flight will have to pay around 20,000 and passengers for the Abu Dhabi-Kochi and Dubai-Ko chi flights will have to pay around 15,000. Former Indian Ambassa dor K.P. Fabian who was the Joint Secretary Of the Gulf Di Vision in the External Affairs Ministry during the 1990 Gulf War, said this was going to place the expats in a ditf cult position as many of them were facing financial hardships In 1990, we had taken a decision that the Governorment of India will bear the expenditure for the entire operation. We did not have a contractual arrangement with Air India but it was a smooth tie-up as the Minis tries of Civil Aviation, Fi nance and External Affairs coordinated. After the oper ation, MEA paid Air India for the airlift," said Mr. Fabian who travelled to Baghdad where he and External Af first Minister, the late Inder Kumar Gujral, met Iraqi rul er Saddam Hussein. Mr. Fabian also visited Jor dan subsequently to work on the logistics of the plan which led to the airlift of around 1,76,000 people by civilian airliners. The opera tion remains a record.

May 15th, 2020 | category:international-affairs |

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