Evacuation under ‘VANDE BHARAT MISSION’

Many Indian Will be Traveling back to India and Below experience can help them to make there Journey easy and can also ask queries at mentioned email id.

Dear friends,

I am writing this blog to share my experience for the evacuation from UAE to India and it may also be useful for other flyers who would arrive via international flights to return to India.

As my business visa got expired in April and the IT project work in early May, I was eagerly waiting for the early departure from UAE.I applied for the evacuation from UAE by filing the online registration form wherein the individual’s name, local and Indian address, nearest airport from native place and compelling reason for leaving to India has to be filled.

On 26th May, I got the call from Indian embassy in UAE inquiring about my passport details and preferred airport of landing and that I may get a call for the travel from next available flight provided seat is available. Very same day, there was a call from Arabian Travel Agency that my name has been shortlisted for the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Jaipur scheduled on 29th May and I have to make the air ticket payment soon as the provided payment link will expire within next 6 hours. So, I made the payment of the non-refundable ticket costing AED 790 from Dubai to Jaipur via credit card and got an online confirmation for the payment. On 27th May, I again received a call from Arabian Travel Agency asking about the passport details and finally issuing an online ticket and suggesting that I am eligible for 25 kg baggage allowance and 7 kg hand baggage. There were additional mandatory forms to be filled–

1) Air India Indemnity form-Air India will not be liable for any costs incurred as a result such illness and I release Air India from any liability of any kind arising. I have to bear the quarantine costs and incidental penalties.

2) Self-Declaration Form(In Duplicate)to be filled by all international passengers to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare suggesting the personal information and contact address in India as well as declaration whether  the passenger is suffering from any pre-existing diseases(Hypertension/Diabetes/Bronchial Asthma, Cancer, Under Immunosuppressive therapy, Post- Transplant patients or any other illness).

3) Undertaking cum Indemnity Form to the Consulate General of India, Dubai as to the consent form for evacuation from UAE to India and the mandatory quarantine consent.

As I was staying in Abu Dhabi and the curfew timing in UAE is from 8 pm to 6 am, hence I did a hotel room reservation near Dubai Airport for the 28th May overnight stay as I wanted to avoid the risk of being late in the Dubai Airport Terminal 2.Hence, I hired a cab for the Abu Dhabi to Dubai and left at 2 pm on 28th afternoon. The overnight stay at Premier Inn was nice and comfortable.

I had to reach airport at least 5 hours before the flight departure.

DUBAI AIRPORT

We have to carry face-mask, hand gloves and hand –sanitizer as mandated by the Dubai Airport Authority . The Airport Terminal allowed us to enter at 7 am on 29th May for a 11.30 am flight and they asked us to put the passport in a plastic box for review. After our thermal screening and return of the passport, we headed towards the seats wherein we waited till our names were called for Covid-19 blood test which lasted hardly one minute and a sticker for-“Fit to Travel” was affixed behind my passport.

After giving the baggage to the weighing area, I went to the Immigration area for the stamping on the passport. The mandatory security checks involved taking off the shoes, belt etc.  and screening of the cabin baggage and laptop bag. Finally, we reached Dubai Duty Free Area and was astonished to see that almost all the shops were closed and only one coffee shop and Subway Sandwich were operational. All other shops like-books, perfumes, clothing, liquor and even pharmacy shops were closed. The good part is that social distancing was expected to be maintained as every alternate seat had sheets refraining us to get seated there.I have been to Dubai Airport several times but have never seen it so deserted. It used to be exciting place with millions of visitors from various countries.

 IN THE AIRPLANE

We waited for about 1.5 hours in the Waiting Lounge and then there was announcement as to the Boarding start for the Jaipur bound IX-1196 flight. As my Economy class seat was 11 D, my ticket number was called later then other passengers who had to be seated behind in the plane.

While entering the  180 seater-plane, I was further surprised to see that the aircraft crew was wearing full body gear suits (PPE) for the prevention of Covid-19 and the Immigration documents and Snacks box was placed on our seats. No other services were provided by the crew, as in additional tea or coffee or snacks, even the used plates were not removed. This was done in order to maintain the safety of the crew. However, there was cent percent occupancy in the flight and I had a good sleep throughout the flight and aircraft landed smoothly at Jaipur airport at 4:30 pm IST.

ARRIVAL AT JAIPUR AIRPORT

In Jaipur airport, my hand baggage was sanitized and I had to submit the self-declaration form to the airport authority officials. As my family had already booked one of the 4 Star hotel for the Jaipur stay for 7 days institutional quarantine, I was given a slip for the stay confirmation by the administrative staff. For other flyers, there are options to choose from one of the hotel categories (Standard-Rs.1500/3 to 4 Star –Rs.2, 500 and 5 Star –Rs. 3,500)-Taxes extra. The hotel would be providing breakfast, lunch and dinner in this package. Once the immigration stamp was affixed on the passport, I went to the Baggage conveyor belt and waited patiently for about 45 minutes. Jaipur administration provided us water,tea and chips. Other private eateries and restaurants were not open, however duty free shops were open at the airport. I was not allowed to take any photos.

To my astonishment, I was asked to deposit my passport by the CISF staff stationed there, which was to be returned after 7 days at the hotel. After passport submission, there was a 14 Seater Force traveler where there were 9 persons apart from the driver and the Policeman who accompanied me to the hotel.No taxis or private pickup is allowed.

QUARANTINE STAY

In the hotel, again the baggage sanitization was done. After the registration in the hotel register, I moved to the allotted hotel room. During the quarantine period, I have to keep make myself confined in the hotel room and not to have any meal from outside and have any outsider visit my room. There is a strict monitoring of the body temperature at the hotel everyday. I hope my Covid-19 test result will be negative before I leave from the Jaipur hotel to my home city-Jodhpur for the next 7 day home quarantine.

I hope much more evacuation flights would be commenced by the Indian government for the fellow citizens who are stranded either due to loss of jobs,pregnancy,old age,medical emergency and who are eagerly waiting to return to the motherland.There are more than 3.5 lakh fellow Indians who have got themselves registered with the Ministry of External Affairs in UAE. Likewise,there are lakhs of Indians who got stuck due to the cancellation of International flights from India and are literally drained out financially,emotionally and need further support.

Meanwhile,I am really thankful for the Indian Government for fast and safe evacuation from a foreign nation. ‘JAI HIND, VANDE MATRAM’.

Please feel free to write at amit.dugar@yahoo.co.in for any further clarification.

Regards

CA Amit Dugar

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