825 Foreign nationals stranded in Punjab facilitated so far to return to their countries since March 31
In many cases, such facilitation and coordination has had to be carried out at the seniormost levels with the MEA
Chandigarh: In line with the Central government’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for making transit arrangements for foreign national stranded in India, the Punjab Government has so far facilitated the return of 825 such persons, including NRIs, to their respective countries between March 31 till April 9, 2020.
Disclosing this here today, DGP Dinkar Gupta said that a Committee of senior police officers comprising of ADGP (Law & Order) Ishwar Singh and AIG/Cyber Crime Inderbir Singh has been involved in the facilitation the return of foreign nationals, stranded in Punjab, back to their respective countries. In many cases, such facilitation and coordination has had to be carried out at the seniormost levels with the MEA to get the necessary approvals in time for the scheduled flights.
It may be recalled that the Union Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, as Chairperson of National Executive Committee, had on April 2, 2020, issued detailed guidelines for strict implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for making transit arrangements for foreign nationals stranded in India, as some foreign countries had approached the Government of India for evacuation of their nationals back to their countries.
In the light of these guidelines, the Government of India had decided that the requests received from foreign countries would be examined on a case- to-case basis by the Union Ministry of External Affairs. As per the protocols for this, after endorsement of requests by the Ministry of External Affairs, the chartered flights were to be arranged by the concerned foreign governments in consultation with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, said the DGP.
Giving the break-up regarding evacuation of foreign nationals from Punjab, Gupta said these included 28 from Finland, 86 from Denmark, 43 from Sweden, 50 from Norway, 14 from Latvia, 6 citizens from Japan and two citizens each from Russia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Belarus and one from Uzbekistan. In addition, 170 citizens of Canada and 273 of USA were also facilitated for evacuation from the state. Next in line are British nationals for which the British government is arranging repatriation flights from Amritsar/Chandigarh.
Apart from these, 15 citizens from South Korea, 33 from Malaysia, 17 from Spain, 7 from Switzerland, 4 each from Taiwan and Mexico, 9 from Netherlands and 57 from Singapore were also safely sent back to their countries.
In line with the standard health protocols, all foreign national (s) are to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Only those who are asymptomatic for COVID-19 are being allowed to leave the state. In the case of symptomatic person(s), the future course of treatment is followed, as per the standard health protocols.
Local transportation arrangements from the place of stay of the foreign national(s) to the point of embarkation is arranged by the local Embassy/Consulate of the respective foreign government, while the transit pass for movement of the vehicle deployed for movement of the foreign national(s) is issued by the Government of the State/Union Territory where the foreign national (s) is /are staying. The transit pass, as issued above, is required to be honoured/allowed by the authorities of the State/Union Territories along the transit route.