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Only 19 flights to ferry Keralites from abroad irk Chandy

Only 19 flights to ferry Keralites from abroad irk Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram: Oommen Chandy, former Chief Minister of Kerala, here on Monday cried foul over allotment of just 19 flights to the state in the third schedule of Vande Bharat programme for bringing in diaspora from Middle East.

According to the schedule, between June 9 and July 1, Air India will operate nine flights from Saudi Arabia, and Air India Express 10 flights from other Middle East countries.

"As on date 3.89 lakh Keralites have registered from abroad on the state government's website seeking flights to return. In these 19 flights, just 4,100 people can come. If this pattern continues, those waiting to return will have to wait for a year," said Chandy.

Chandy has also expressed concern to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

"There are numerous flights from the US, Europe and Russia. But all those flights will terminate in Delhi. While there are connecting flights to other states, there is none for Kerala. It will cause innumerable hardships to Keralites wishing to return.

"Also, they will now end up in paid quarantines. It will cause huge expenses. That too, when many have lost jobs and are students," Chandy said.

So far, around 40,000 Keralites have returned in flights that begun on May 7.

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