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Second repatriation flight from UK takes off for Bengaluru with 323 Indians

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Air India's second repatriation flight to bring back Indians stranded in the UK due to the coronavirus lockdown took off from the Heathrow Airport here for Bengaluru on Sunday with 323 passengers.

Besides the 323 students, tourists and other Indian passport holders, the flight is flying back the body of a 37-year-old Indian-origin man who committed suicide at his home in south-east England.

This was the the second of the first set of seven Air India repatriation flights as part of the Indian government's Vande Bharat Mission to bring home stranded Indians.

Gadigeppagouda Onkaragouda Patil died at Slough in Berkshire on March 13, days before the pandemic-related lockdown grounded international flights to India.

This was a complicated case but with the help of the Indian government, his family will be able to conduct his last rites," said the President of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) diaspora group, who is involved with the coordination of the repatriation process.

Patil's case was complicated as a result of strict new rules for the repatriation of human remains and was made possible only after a new visa was issued.

His coffin has now been transported back to his home-town of Bengaluru after the clearance from the coroner in England.

Air India's evacuation flight for Bengaluru takes off with 323 stranded Indians on board. Shubh Yatra, the Indian High Commission in London said in a statement on Sunday.

The Indian mission has urged all passengers to follow the norm of Do Gaj Doori, Bahut Hair Zaroori as far as possible, with Air India providing passengers with a kit containing meals, snacks, sanitizer, mask and gloves.

On landing, they will be directed to the relevant state government organised quarantine venues for their 14-day self-isolation.

The aircraft, which will land in Bengaluru later on Sunday, comes a day after the first repatriation flight landed in Mumbai in the early hours of Sunday.

The next set of flights over the next week in phase one of the Vande Bharat Mission for the UK will cover Hyderabad (Monday), Mumbai (Tuesday), Ahmedabad (Wednesday), Chennai (Thursday) and New Delhi (Friday).

Organisers have said that further flights are planned from the UK to other cities of India as well in phase two of the repatriation mission.

The schedule is being coordinated by the Indian High Commission in London, with payments made directly to Air India by confirmed passengers. The first set of flights to India will prioritise Indian passport holders on vulnerability and health grounds.

On their way from India to the UK, these flights will also be bringing back some expatriates and UK visa holders wanting to fly back to London's Heathrow Airport.

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

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First Published: Sun, May 10 2020. 18:12 IST