Thursday 21 May 2020 12:50 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON May 22: The much touted ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ to repatriate the stranded Indians during the time of Covid has been providing the service required. However, now allegations of malpractices have begun to surface.
Complaints have been made by hundreds of stranded Keralites who were denied air ticket by Air India in spite of the Indian High Commission shortlisting them for the journey for 19th May 2020 based on the priority category.
The process was that all those who were stranded and looking to return to Kerala had to complete a form which will be vetted by the Indian High Commission in London.
Following this procedure the High Commission would issue the shortlisted people with an email stating that they will now be contacted by Air India for them to be issued with a tickets to fly back.
However, several of those who received the call from the Indian HIgh Commission in London never got the follow up call from Air India.
Several of those who got the call from the Indian High Commission travelled to Heathrow airport in London in spite of not getting calls from Air India on the belief that they may ring them the followign day or that they may be able to collect the tickets from the Air India office at the airport. However, none of this materialised.
Complaints have been made by the Union of UK Malayalee Associaiton (UUKMA), Sameeksha UK and several other organisations for an enquiry into why the Kochi flight didnt take all those Keralites those who were stranded in the UK.
In a letter of complaint sent to the Indian government authorities, Sameeksha UK, a Progressive Cultural Forum, strongly protested the cancellation of seats to the passengers those who received official ocnfirmation from the Indian High Commission.
They quoted a complaint received by thier organisaiton which showed that there has been serious malpractices which took place with the knowledge of higher authorities.
One of the stranded Keralites in the UK Binu said that his family back in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta received a call from the local administration District Collectorate of Pathanamthitta, asking Binu to get to the quarantine they have arranged for him.
The family informed the authorities that Binu is still in the UK and he hasnt arrived. The local administration were given the list of those who are arriving but questions remain on why BInu hasnt arrived.
Sameeksha UK suspects that there are a lot of malpractices happened in the selection of passengers by toppling the agreed selection criteria/priority norms and awarded those seats to other passengers.
Hence Sameeksha UK strongly protest against these malpractices happened and requesting MEA and Government of India to look into this matter urgently and provide reasonable solution to the affected parties/passengers by providing travel arrangements as early as possible and also to provide required monitory compensation to the agony faced by the affected
Also requesting to verify the selection process done by The High Commission in UK and requesting to employ the required remedial measures to put in place for preventing the similar incidents in future.
Also, Sameeksha UK, is requesting additional flights to be scheduled from UK to various cities in India, especially to Kerala for taking the registered passengers from UK to India as the part of massive evacuation programme due to Covid 19 issues.
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