The Central government recently announced the start of the fifth phase of Vande Bharat Mission in lieu of which Air India opened bookings for flights to the US but an NRI in Germany spilled the beans on how all is not heroic under the hood. Lashing the much-celebrated Vande Bharat Mission, the stranded Indian in Germany revealed how he had to sue the Modi government and Air India to get a seat on the flight back home to Kerala during the coronavirus crisis. Also Read - India's COVID-19 Recoveries Cross 15-Lakh Mark; 10 States Contribute More Than 80% of New Cases, Says Health Ministry
Sharing the “harassment” that he underwent, Monty Majeed stated to The Print, “my experience with this ‘rescue’ mission has been one of the most stressful times of my life. It was an emotionally and financially draining experience. Finally, I had to sue the Modi government and Air India to get a seat on a Vande Bharat flight back home to Kerala.” Also Read - Monsoon Mayhem LIVE: IMD Issues 'Extremely Heavy Rainfall' Warning in 6 Kerala Districts; Bihar Flood Situation Remains Grim
Working in Europe since 2015 and in Munich since 2018, Majeed was excited to relocate to India after he got a job offer from an IT firm in Bangalore earlier this year. All set to leave Germany on 5 June, Majeed was held back as the German and Indian governments announced lockdowns due to the coronavirus crisis. Also Read - Coronavirus: Brazil Records 100,000 Deaths; Total Tally at 3 Million
When the Modi government announced three flights to Delhi from Frankfurt under the Vande Bharat Mission to bring back stranded Indians, Majeed was as uninformed as the embassy there since the announcements were made on Twitter. After all the miscommunication and misinformation, Majeed shared with the news agency how he “wrote to everyone possible: the Berlin embassy, the Chief Minister of Kerala, and Air India. I even opened a Twitter account to inform the authorities through tweets, but to no avail.”
When Air India announced a flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore via Delhi again on July 01 and the same hassel followed, Majeed decided to go ahead and file a case against the authorities and Air India. He shared, “My father, C.A Majeed, filed a writ petition, on my behalf, against the Union of India, Air India, State of Kerala, Indian Ambassador to Germany and Norka Roots in the High Court of Kerala (WP(C) 13506/2020) on 3 July. The case was heard on 6 July, during which the representative of the Modi government said that they were not aware of the case and hadn’t received the files. The next hearing was moved to 9 July. On the evening of 8 July, my lawyer was asked to provide my details (name, passport number, e-ticket number) and the next day, just before the hearing in the court, I was emailed a ticket confirming a seat for me on flight AI120 from Frankfurt to Bangalore scheduled for 12 July.”
Meanwhile, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has claimed that over 814K stranded Indians have returned to the country under Vande Bharat Mission since May 6. India is preparing to bring back more Indians under the Phase 5 from August 1.