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First repatriation flight arrives in Kolkata, passengers include 16 with medical emergencies

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

The first repatriation flight to West Bengal under the Vande Bharat Mission landed at the Kolkata airport on Monday from Bangladesh with 169 people, including 16 in need of medical emergency treatment and a pregnant woman, officials said.

The plane that took off from Dhaka arrived at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here around 12.30 pm, airport officials said.

"After deboarding the plane, the passengers are now going through health check-ups and screening. The state health department officials are monitoring the entire process," they added.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar welcomed the passengers and thanked the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the West Bengal government for working in coordination to facilitate the operation of the flight.

"Pleased to welcome the first spl flight under #VBM to West Bengal. AI 0231 has landed in Kolkata, carrying 169 Indians frm Dhaka. Thank @airindiain @MoCA_GoI & WB Govt for support & coordination. Appreciate the effort by HC @rivagdas & Team @ihcdhaka," he said in a tweet.

The sources said the passengers include 73 students, 45 stranded tourists, 16 people having medical emergencies, and a pregnant woman.

The passengers will be placed under institutional quarantine before they can go to their homes, officials added.

"After the screening and check-up of the passengers for COVID, they would go on a 14-day quarantine. If someone tests positive, he or she will be taken to hospital," a state health official said.

The state government has already shared the list of hotels with the Union government which it has earmarked for pay-and-use quarantine stay and also those arranged by the government for free, he said.

The Centre launched the 'Vande Bharat Mission' on May 7 to evacuate Indians stranded in various countries due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

The issue of repatriation flights to West Bengal had snowballed into a major political row last week after senior TMC leader and minister Partha Chatterjee alleged that the Centre was discriminating between states in terms of deploying repatriation flights for residents of different states.

Denying the charge, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said the Centre does not differentiate between states, and that the 'Vande Bharat' mission is for all Indians stranded abroad.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 18 2020. 14:23 IST