Smiles were back on the faces of more than 250 people from Telangana, who were stranded in the US, as they returned to their hometown on Saturday morning in a special chartered flight that landed at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad here.
Thanks to the initiative taken up by US-India Solidarity Mission (USISM) led by Ravi Puli, the passengers safely landed at RGIA from Doha. The flyers, mostly students, businessmen and those who went to the US to meet their children and relatives, first came to Doha where they boarded Qatar airways flight and reached RGIA, said Ravi from Washington DC over phone.
ll the passengers were now under the mandatory quarantine at a star hotel here.
Two businessmen from Telangana, who were stranded in Mexico, were among the passengers who returned to their hometown. On coming to know the problems being faced by Indians stranded in the US, Ravi started a website usism.org requesting such persons to register to return here by charter flight.
“The response was overwhelming. As many as 2,000 people enrolled with us. But we succeeded in bringing over 250 people to Telangana in the first phase,” Ravi explained, adding the organization managed to overcome difficulties to successfully repatriate people from three places in the US.
The USISM has coordinated with the governments in US and India apart from interacting with officials in Doha to make the travel arrangements, said Ravi who hails from Katapur village in Tadvai mandal.
Plans have been chalked out to make travel arrangements for one more batch in a week. Recalling the problems they faced during the last few months due to non-availability of flights, passengers thanked the USISM for coming to their rescue.
A passenger, Niharika Reddy, who went to the US to pursue higher education, was delighted at returning to Hyderabad after waiting for four months to get a flight. All the Covid-19 guidelines were strictly followed in the flight for everyone’s safety, she said.
Double blow for Nizamabad origin techie’s family
It was a double blow for a software engineer’s family hailing from Nizamabad district after they could not board a special chartered flight in US to reach their hometown due to an internal communication problem with the airlines.
The techie Chaitanya, who is staying with his wife and two children including an infant, was already facing problems after losing his job in February. Since then he was trying to return to his hometown.
But he could not make it due to cancellation of international flights due to lockdown. “When US-India Solidarity Mission (USISM) opened a website to facilitate Indians enroll their names for reaching India in a chartered flight, Chaitanya too enrolled with us,” Ravi Puli of USISM said.
Chaitanya and his family completed all the formalities but their happiness was short-lived when they could not board the chartered flight to Hyderabad because of an internal communication problem with the airlines, Ravi said.
He said the USISM was making efforts to send Chaitanya’s family to Hyderabad in the next batch.