Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray in a letter to the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri has urged the repatriation flights need to be coordinated by the ministry, Air India with the state governments for effective reach to various sectors around the world as most evacuees are in touch with respective states.
He said more sectors need to be added for repatriation for an early evacuation of Indians stranded there.
Thackeray recalled that in his communication to the Minister of External Affairs and Air India MD had requested for sectors of the Middle East, Australia, Russia along with others. Although some flights were organised, there is a need for many more for the same.
''Vande Bharat Mission (VBM)-4 schedule has been handed over to the state, however, there is no single flight from the Middle East to Maharashtra, despite repeated requests from the state and the people stuck there. All the flights of VBM-4 from seven cities of only six countries are hopping flights, which means not many passengers coming would be from Maharashtra,'' said Thackeray. He appealed to the Civil Aviation Minister to address this issue and injustice metered out to Maharashtra. ''Every state should have its people repatriated, but it should be in equal measure and in a fair way,'' he noted.
Thackeray said the state government had constant feedback from passengers flying in about unaffordable airfares for repatriation and more so because of the n flight facilities provided against it -the food, quality, delays, absence of food services at hop overs. ''This causes more stress to the ones being repatriated from various countries after a stressful extended stay abroad,'' he viewed.
''We are extremely proud of the unmatched quantum of repatriation being carried out by the Government of India, and these minor interventions from your ministry would ensure that the repatriation is not just remembered as historic but also one that truly served the people to the maximum in times of need,'' said Thackeray.
Under the VBM, 145 flights have brought home 22,251 passengers. Of these, 8,070 passengers are from Mumbai, 7,686 from other districts, 6,495 from other states. By July 1, another 26 flights will land in Mumbai, said Chief Minister's Office.