Mangaluru, May 14, 2020: One of the 179 passengers on board the first repatriation flight to Mangaluru revealed, “After the health check-up and immigration clearance, I and my pregnant wife finally reached our room at 3.30 am.”
He said they had just a sandwich while departing from UAE. Nothing was served during the flight. “From the time the flight landed at Mangalore International Airport (MIA) on Tuesday at 10.10 pm, till our exit not even water was served to us,” he said seething with anger.
“Initially, the passengers were forced to spend hours inside the aircraft. The airport neither had air conditioning nor had fans. There were no sufficient health personnel either. Only one counter was set up to provide a quarantine facility for over 179 passengers. The probationary IAS officer, instead of overseeing the arrangements, was found sleeping,” he charged.
Twitter was also flooded with video clippings uploaded by passengers highlighting the poor arrangements for the passengers.
A video clip showed a pregnant woman struggling to find water at the airport. A passenger tweeted, “@DCDK9 this is how you treat elderly woman, pregnant women at Mangalore Airport? No police or airport staff to assist.”
MLA U T Khader expressed displeasure over the lack of preparations by the district administration. “Those who had opted for the quarantine facility in government institutions were given quarantine facility in hotels. Many did get food. The district administration should ensure that such problems do not repeat when other flights land in Mangaluru,” he stressed.
SDPI district secretary Iqbal Bellare said hotels were charging exorbitant rent for the quarantine facility. Two Islamic organisations had come forward to accommodate people for free. But the district administration rejected it. The passengers hailed from Mangaluru, Sullia, Puttur, Moodbidri, Belthangady, Bantwal and Karwar.
Deputy Commissioner Sindhu B Rupesh clarified that quarantine arrangements were made as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). When the Government of India decided to evacuate stranded people from foreign countries, it had laid down two conditions. All travellers shall give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory institutional quarantine for 14 days at their cost. All travellers were also asked to give an undertaking that they will travel at their own risk, she said.