Govt plans at least 7 more Op Ganga charters till March 2; IndiGo to operate 2 one-stops flights - Times of India

Govt plans at least 7 more Op Ganga charters till March 2; IndiGo to operate 2 one-stops flights – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: India is trying to get more of Ukraine’s east European neighbours on board for allowing access to Indians from the war-torn country so that they could be flown home from there. Polish ambassador to India Adam Burakowski on Sunday Tweeted that the country “is allowing all Indian students who escape from Russian aggression in Ukraine to enter without any visa.” The decision came amid a large number of people stuck on Ukraine-Poland border checkpoints and huge difficulties in passing over from there. India has set up 24×7 control centers to assist in evacuating its nationals through the border crossing points with Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Slovak Republic.
The external affairs ministry Sunday said while 1,000 Indians have been flown back on four flights over Saturday and Sunday, an equal number are at places from where they can be airlifted. Five more AI charters (4 to Bucharest and one to Budapest) on wide-body planes and two IndiGo flights to Budapest (one-stop via Istanbul on single aisles), will operate as part of Operation Ganga till March 2.
AI sent a Dreamliner to Bucharest on Sunday (fourth evacuation charter) which came back with 198 Indians. More flights will be organised as Indians, mostly students, manage to reach places from where they can be flown home.
More Indian carriers like AI Express could also operate charters for Operation Ganga. “All India carriers are willing to participate by operating one-stop flights like IndiGo is doing. That is not the problem. For a national duty like this, regular flights can be curtailed to divert planes to east Europe. The issue is bringing the 20,000-odd Indians out of Ukraine to someplace from where they can be airlifted,” said an airline official.
According to the Indian embassy in Kyiv Sunday evening (India time), “intense fighting is underway in Kharkiv, Sumy and Kyiv.” It asked Indians in these cities and others where curfew has been imposed not to head towards railway stations until the curfew is lifted and “considerable civilian movement is renewed.”
Earlier in the day, an advisory by the Indian embassy in Kyiv had said Indians are being evacuated through Romania and Hungary and it is working to open up more borders with Ukraine neighbours. “As and when the curfew is lifted, and there is considerable movement of people in your respective neighbourhoods, Indian nationals are advised to use nearby railway stations for movement out of regions of active conflict and proceed towards the Western regions. Railways are operational and safer,” the advisory says.
Apart from regular trains, Ukrainian Railways is also operating special trains for evacuation of people free of charge, on a first come first serve basis. “Indian Nationals are advised to travel in groups, and in case of individuals, you are advised to identify other fellow Indian Nationals and travel together with them. Preference at railway stations is being given to children, women and elderly people,” it added.



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