New Delhi: India has permitted Bangladesh to fly back nearly one thousand Bangladeshi citizens who had been stranded in the country in the wake of the national lockdown since March 25.
Both the External Affairs Ministry and the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi jointly coordinated this decision to facilitate return of Bangladeshi citizens as they were facing hardships and wanted to return home.
However, in a peculiar stand, Bangladesh national carrier Biman had declined to ferry its stranded citizens, sources in the diplomatic circle said. Extending full cooperation to Bangladesh as it battles the Covid-19 pandemic, the Modi Government gave a special permission to a private airlines of Bangladesh to fly back their citizens from different cities of the country.
Bangladesh is also on board the SAARC nations initiative, taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month for cooperation among member States in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
At one point of time, Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi had to seek the intervention of their Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to sort out internal problem between national carrier Biman and the private airlines U.S.- Bangla.
Beginning April 20 when India is set to relax some of the restrictions on the lockdown of the country, six special chartered flights will carry home the stranded citizens of Bangladesh from different cities in India. In fact, High Commissioner of Bangladesh in India Mohammed Imran and his colleagues worked overtime in coordinating with authorities at home as well as in India in order to begin the flights with all necessary precautions.
At the time of the national lockdown last month, thousands of Bangladeshi citizens were in India for various reasons. Many of them are students studying in different Universities, some came on tourist and medical visas. Many citizens of Bangladesh are those who came for medical treatment and found themselves stranded in various cities like Chennai, Vellore, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
Private airline U.S.- Bangla agreed to ferry all those stranded citizens back to Bangladesh after booking their tickets. Initially, lockdown in India was declared till April 14 but Prime Minister Narendra Modi after consultations with State Chief Ministers extended it till May 3.
Stranded Bangladeshi citizens were also concerned about their financial resources and well-being. Again, High Commissioner and other officials had another round of discussion with the Indian authorities here and the government finally agreed to consider to allow flights by private airline U.S.- Bangla which is not so common in the civil aviation sector.
The private carrier is set to fly to Chennai and Kolkata to take back the passengers. Four officers from the Bangladesh Mission in New Delhi have been in contact with respective state Governments for ferrying stranded citizens and their relatives in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Vellore to transport them to Chennai. After their return to Dhaka, they will have to remain in quarantine for at least 14 days.(UNI)