• Only two local flights to operate under mission
• Kashmiris stranded in Dubai, Kyrgyzstan seek more flights for their evacuation
Kashmir has not got any international flights under the fourth phase of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ announced by the Government of India (GoI) on Sunday, while two domestic flights are scheduled for July 5 and 8.
As per the flight schedule issued today, no international flights have been reserved for the inhabitants of J&K stranded in and outside India following COVID-19 lockdown.
The first domestic flight, as per the 4th phase of VBM, would arrive in Srinagar from Delhi on July 5 and the second flight on July 8.
The third phase of the VBM started on June 3 and continues till July 15.
On Sunday, Indian national carrier, Air India published the evacuation flight schedule for Phase 4 of VBM. The airline will operate 170 repatriation flights to and from 17 countries.
As per the published schedule, the flights will operate 170 flights connecting India with Canada, US, UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Kashmiris stranded in Dubai have expressed resentment over the failure of the authorities to add two more flights for J&K residents stranded in UAE.
Fiaz Gulzar, who is presently stranded in Dubai said scores of Kashmiris stuck in different places were struggling to reach their homes.
“Some are jobless and some even have medical emergencies. We appeal the higher authorities to evacuate us from here and provide us direct flight from Dubai to Srinagar,” he said.
Another Kashmiri resident stranded in Dubai, Malik Waseem wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter that there was a desperate need for two to three direct flights from Dubai to Srinagar.
“It has been 4 months and we are waiting desperately to return our homes but it seems J&K administration is not bothered about us,” Waseem tweeted.
“Our pain is endless and our eyes are filled with tears in UAE after our unlimited requests but there is no one who can listen to our pleas,” he said.
Students from Kashmir stranded in Kyrgyzstan also appealed to the administration to arrange more flights for them.
Zahida Nabi, who is stranded along with dozens of other students in Bishkek city of Kyrgyzstan, told Rising Kashmir that despite repeated pleas to the Indian embassy and other higher officials, there was no response from their side.
“We went to the Indian embassy but they didn't respond to us. They are just playing blame games with the desperate students,” she said.
Yaqoob Malik, another student at Bishkek, said that they needed three additional flights as they were running out of resources.
The stranded inhabitants in Dubai and Kyrgyzstan appealed to the Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and J&K administration to look into the issue and operate more flights between Dubai and Srinagar to evacuate J&K residents.
Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Puri said more than 2 million passengers took close to 23,000 flights since 25 May 2020 and that the domestic civil aviation operations in India continues to soar.