Pradhan urges Jaishankar, Puri for flights to bring back stranded Odias abroad

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Bhubaneswar, June 3 (PTI) Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged the Centre to make arrangements to operate direct flights to Bhubaneswar from the gulf countries, UK and Sri Lanka to bring back the people of Odisha stranded there due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Union Petroleum and Steel Minister, in separate letters to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, sought the government's intervention for arranging flights from these countries to bring back the stranded Odias.

Pradhan said the decision of the Centre to repatriate Indian nationals under the Vande Bharat Mission has helped many migrant workers, students and professionals to fly back to their home states.

In this regard, Ministry of Civil Aviation has been doing commendable work by operating flight service for the passengers stranded abroad, he said in the letters that were released to the press on Wednesday.

Pradhan said that he received representations from Odia persons living abroad, requesting to be brought back to Bhubaneswar.

The Odia community representatives living in GCC countries, United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka have made specific requests to travel back from their respective capital cities to Bhubaneswar directly, Pradhan wrote.

Since they are in good numbers in these countries, direct flights may be arranged from cities such as Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Muscat, Bahrain, Colombo and London to Bhubaneswar, which would also make commercial sense for the airlines, Pradhan said in his letters.

While the Centre has already resumed domestic flights in the country almost two months after the enforcement of the lockdown, regular international flights are yet to be resumed. PTI SKN SBN SOM SOM