New Delhi: The first flight carrying Keralaites stranded abroad during the coronavirus lockdown will reach Kerala on May 7.
On the first day (May 7) four flights carrying expats will reach Kerala, said Union Minister V. Muraleedharan. The four flights landing in Kerala on Thursday will be two from UAE and one each from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The first flight to Kerala will be from UAE.
“The union government will bring back all the NRIs who wish to return. However, they will have to pay for the flight tickets,” he said in a special interview with Mathrubhumi News.
The external affairs ministry has been taking efforts to bring back expats for the last three weeks. The plan is to bring back all NRIs stranded abroad who wish to return with the help of the Civil Aviation department and the armed forces, he said.
The plan was initiated in the first week of April. However, an official declaration was made after the Prime Minister’s decision. The first flight will land in Kerala on May 7, just three days after the announcement was made. Four flights will land in Kerala on May 7, he added.
It is the Civil Aviation department that decides the flight charges for the returning expats. The government understands that flight charges will have to be set. Instead of bringing back the expats free of cost, the government will bring them back after accepting a charge. That is what the expats also demanded, the BJP leader explained.
As the international flight services were suspended, the expats demanded to restart flight services so that they could return. They never demanded the government to bring them back for free, he clarified.
Embassies in each country need to decide on utilising the NRI funds. Each embassy has the ultimate authority in that regard, added the Union Minister.