UAE: Around 14,000 Set to Return to India This Week

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Around 14,000 Indian citizens are set to depart for home from the UAE this week.

Some 81 specially chartered repatriation flights are due to take off as part of the third phase of the country’s massive operation to bring its citizens home during the current coronavirus pandemic.

More than 50 flights will be destined for Kerela, with a range of other destinations also on the itinerary, including Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

The first flight will leave Abu Dhabi on Tuesday headed for New Delhi.

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According to reports, more than 350,000 Indians have applied to their embassy to return home.

The government has come under fire because those being flown back have to pay, with prices reportedly ranging from 12,000 rupees ($160/AED587) for a ticket from Dubai to 100,000 rupees to fly back from the United States.

India banned all incoming international flights in late March as it imposed one of the world’s strictest virus lockdowns, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers and students stranded abroad.

Domestic air travel will resume in India on Monday after the two-month shutdown, the aviation minister said last week, in an easing of national lockdown restrictions.

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An estimated 6,000 Indians have so far left the UAE since the beginning of the evacuation programme at the start of the month.

Those on board the first flights were workers who had lost their jobs, together with pregnant women, the elderly and some stranded tourists.

The second phase will run from May 26 until June 8.

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