Thiruvananthapuram | In an effort to ensure easy and speedy return of Keralities to their home destinations, Kerala government today decided to charter flights to bring back the evacuees who have reached Mumbai after being rescued from strife-torn Yemen.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters that 140 Keralites are in Mumbai airport waiting for their onward journey to the state. The plan is to bring those stranded in Mumbai along with those who will be reaching tonight in the chartered flight, he said. A decision in this regard was taken as more people are expected to reach Mumbai airport.
Only 70 seats were available in scheduled flights for tomorrow morning. With a few more people landing tonight, their onward journey would become more difficult, he said. Chandy said most of those who have reached Mumbai airport from Yemen have said they had a difficult time during their evacuation. Some had to travel around 20 hours by ship.
Though the state had repeatedly asked the Centre to extend the flights that bring Yemen returnees to Kochi as maximum number of them are from Kerala, only one flight had landed in the city so far. I spoke to the Defence Minister and also the Minister of State for Defence on the matter. They have assured maximum help, he said Another source of anxiety for the government was about the evacuation of those Indians, including Keralities, still stranded in remote regions of war-hit Yemen, he said.
Similarly there were a number of hospital staff whose passports had been seized and they were not being allowed to leave by the hospital authorities concerned, fearing medical services would be hit, he said.
Chandy made it clear that the state would not stop its ‘Operation Rakshak’ till the last Keraliite who wants to return, is brought back. So far 1,903 persons, including from other states, have reached Kochi from Yemen and have been provided monetary facilities to reach their destinations. Kerala is the only state to extend such a help to Yemen returness.