Bhubaneswar: It was a highly emotional moment when Mrs. Sanghamitra Rout received the first air ticket advice from the Indian Embassy in Bahrain today for a historic flight from Bahrain to Bhubaneswar amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A mother of two, Mrs Rout and her children were stranded in the island nation since the last three months due to the permanent closure of her office in Bahrain. A similar sense of joy was shared by many others who were included within the first batch of approved travelers to Bhubaneswar via Delhi on 20th June 2020 by Air India Flight No AI 0940.
Despite the scorching weather, Bahrain Odia Samaj Founder, Dr. Arun Kumar Praharaj was present at the venue along with his Executive Committee members, Sri Subas Sahoo and Sri Himanshu Taldi. They personally monitored the situation and provided necessary support to travellers in the cue, which mainly constituted of migrant workers.
The overpriced Air India ticket sanctioned under the Vande Bharat Mission did not deter the stranded Odias from heaving sighs of relief as they are now desperate to return home under any circumstances. Post the reception of the air ticket advice, the gratitude conveyed to Dr. Praharaj and his Executive Committee by the travellers was heart-touching. “We would like to thank Arun Bhaina, Subas Bhai and Himanshu Bhai for their kindness and support during these difficult times when our employers abandoned us. It is a moment filled with happy tears as we will finally be with our loved ones,” said one such traveller.
Many expressed concerns over the ticket fair which is priced at BD 148/-( Rs. 29,800/-) for Bahrain to Bhubaneswar via Delhi under the Vande Bharat Mission. This is relatively higher than the fare charged for the Dubai to Bhubaneswar flight under the same scheme (priced at BD 85 I.e. UAE Dhs 830/- only). For many, this flight back home would mean bidding farewell to a lifetime of savings, leaving them with nothing to take to their parents, spouse and children back home. Dr. Praharaj has corresponded with concerned authorities to review the fare and requested a reduction to help the poor travellers who have already lost their jobs.
Keeping COVID-19 guidelines in mind, no large gatherings were entertained and social distancing was observed at the location. This batched process will continue on a day-day basis till the flight is fully booked to fly on 20th June 2020 to Bhubaneswar.
Dr. Praharaj along with his committee members and all stranded Odias, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Shri Dhramendra Pradhan, Petroleum Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, Honourable Minister Shri Ranendra Pratap Swain, Shri Rahul Prasad Shrivastava, Joint secretary Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Bahrain for their kind support, without which the direct flight from Bahrain to Bhubaneswar was next to impossible. Finally, Dr. Praharaj, the Executive Committe members and migrant workers thanked Mahaprabhu Jagannatha for everything.