NEW DELHI :
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said that Indians who are ordinarily resident abroad but are stranded in India due to cancellation of international flights will soon be able to go back with the government considering arrangements for it.
Puri said during a ‘facebook live’ session to address queries of passengers about domestic and international travel that the government will be able to facilitate NRIs who ordinarily reside abroad but are struck in India to return to where they live, much before international air travel is resumed.
“I am able to meet that objective of ensuring Indians who are now living in India but are ordinarily resident abroad, such as in the EU, Canada, the US, Japan and Australia, to return even before international civil aviation opens up because we are now increasing the number of Vande Bharat flights," Puri said.
The minister explained that foreign nationals who are stranded in India due to the suspension of international air travel have already been returning in the evacuation flights their respective nations have been organizing.
The proposed facility for NRIs to return to where they live may be put in place as early as mid-June. Puri was responding to a question whether NRIs will be able to return by August or September. “Let us say, we must have a more ambitious goal. Why not start by mid-June or June end or July?," the minister said. He also assured that from 15 May, airports and the ancillary industry were ready.
The minister added that if the situation remains predictable, he was confident of starting a good part of international travel, if not all of it, much before August-September.
Puri said he was an optimist and that everything would depend on whether the coronavirus behaves in a predictable manner and people imbibe the idea of co-existing with the virus with safeguards while the authorities make appropriate arrangements.
So far, the Vande Bharat mission has done well and the resumption of domestic flights from Monday will also proceed well, the minister said.