Latest Posts

Himachalis stranded abroad rescued by sincere efforts of State Government

One of the most effective measures undertaken to provide relief to people stranded at various locations abroad during COVID-19 pandemic is the operation of flights under Vande Bharat Mission by the Centre Government. The Himachal Pradesh Government has brought 713 himachalis stranded abroad so far in 69 countries/cities which include UAE, USA, England, Australia, Russia, Kirghizstan, Ukraine, etc.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur took special interest in executing this task which was efficiently monitored by Chief Secretary Anil Khachi through State Nodal Officer Onkar Chand Sharma, Sanjay Kundu former Resident Commissioner and Rajnish present Resident Commissioner Government of Himachal Pradesh at New Delhi. The Resident Commissioner Office at New Delhi made tireless efforts to ensure successful implementation of the task given by the State Government. Deputy Resident Commissioner Vivek Mahajan was the nodal officer at New Delhi who coordinated with Ministry of External Affairs and planned the task while interacting with various Embassies and contacted the passengers country-wise and communicated with them through whatsapp groups. He also guided them regarding flight timings, help desk, documents etc and all information they needed till they landed in India. The Flights carrying himachalis landed at Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar airports.  A team of state government officers were deputed at Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar airports also to receive the himachalis .The operation was carried out by the team of HP govt under the supervision of Deputy Resident Commissioner New Delhi who coordinated with District Magistrates at and nodal officers at Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar.

As per SOP the passengers were received and medically screened by respective Governments of Delhi & Punjab at airport. After that they were handed over to help desk of Himachal Pradesh with a certificate clearly mentioning that they have been medically screened and found asymptomatic for facilitating their travel for further quarantine. The task of Helpdesk was to take over the persons from respective governments of Delhi or Punjab etc and facilitate their travel by hiring them taxi if needed. The office of Resident Commissioner also made all the further arrangements for their quarantines in respective districts in coordination with Districts Administration. The District Administrations were duly informed about the movement and details of vehicles etc. by the office of Resident Commissioner.

Initially Ministry of External Affairs /Embassy was reluctant to shift the people of Himachal Pradesh to India as they wanted written assurance to the fact that people of Himachal Pradesh shall be taken to Himachal Pradesh for quarantine. Accordingly immediately the SOP was drafted and issued so that persons of Himachal Pradesh don’t have to suffer. Once this SOP was issued the challenge was to ensure repatriation of maximum number of Himachalis which was a gigantic task as there was huge demand from Pan India against meagre supply of seats in Air India flights. However after concerted efforts and great help from Mr. Robert, Joint Secretary and Nodal Officer, MEA it could materialise resulting in almost most of the Himachal Pradesh residents repatriated to Himachal Pradesh.

A list of around 40 people stranded at Dubai was received in the RC office Nodal Officer cum Deputy Resident Commissioner Government of Himachal Pradesh Delhi talked to these persons in Dubai and got a whatsapp group formed and a broadcast list was also formed that resulted in getting list of around 250 persons stranded in UAE. This matter was taken up with MEA/embassies on regular basis and the result was that till date around 213 people from UAE/middle east have already arrived at various airports at Delhi, Amritsar and Chandigarh.

Similarly, matter was taken up with DM Champawat (Uttrakhand State) for bringing eight persons stranded at Nepal, who were received at border, boarded in a bus and sent to Paonta Sahib where the RC office had already tied up with DC Sirmour to get them quarantined. Likewise, matter was taken up with police personal at Attari border for bringing himachalis stranded in Pakistan. The team of officials with authority letter was sent to Attari border who after receiving them and doing the formalities were facilitated in a taxi to their native place in Himachal Pradesh for institutional quarantine. People from Maldives etc. reached at Kerala and Tamilnadu. The matter was taken up with the Governments of Kerala and Tamilnadu to receive them and putting into institutional quarantine at Kerala/Tamilnadu.

Bringing medical students from Ukraine and Kirghizstan took lot of pursuance with the MEA and Embassy and the first lot of 54 students from Ukraine reached at Chandigarh airport by Air India flights and charter flights. The nodal officer deputed the team of officials to receive them, arranged three HRTC buses in coordination with MD, HRTC and facilitated their travel to respective quarantine hotel in respective zone. Same was the case with students from Kirghizstan who reached at Chandigarh and Delhi airports after lot of efforts made by the office.

Due to the determination of the Chief Minister, this herculean task could be accomplished so far and the process is still going on to recue maximum number of Himachalis.