New Delhi: Around 4,800 Indian students will be evacuated from Bucharest and Suceawa in Romania through 24 flights between Wednesday and Friday amid Russia-Ukraine war, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said.
The minister, who is in Bucharest to facilitate the evacuation of Indian students, said he will be going to Siret, the border check point with Ukraine, on Thursday and remain there for around 48 hours.
”I will be there till the last student leaves from Siret,” he stated.
India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Ukraine’s western neighbours such as Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.
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”There are around 3,000 Indian students in Bucharest and 1,000 students in Siret right now,” Scindia said at a virtual press conference.
He said around 1,000 more students are expected to come through Siret check point.
The government hopes to send them safely back to India within the next three days, he added.
Six flights — two of them of the Indian Air Force — with around 1,300 students are departing from Bucharest on Wednesday, he said.
On Thursday, six flights will depart from Bucharest with 1,300 students, he mentioned.
It takes around six to seven hours to cover the distance from border check point Siret to Bucharest and therefore, it has been decided that certain flights will operate from Suceawa, which is much closer to Siret, he noted.
”Therefore, to reduce students’ hardship and travel time, we are taking planes directly to Suceawa to pick them up,” the minister mentioned.
On Thursday, two flights will depart from Suceawa with 450 students, he noted.
On Friday, six flights will depart from Bucharest with 1,300 students and four flights will depart from Suceawa with 890 students, he mentioned.
”Therefore, between Wednesday and Friday, a total of 3,500 students will be evacuated from Bucharest and 1,300 students from Suceawa,” Scindia said.
He said he met with 200-300 students at the airport Tuesday night. The students have gone through immense trials and tribulations, he noted.
”The situation they have gone through, it is difficult to explain. They have come out of war-like conditions,” he mentioned. He said two call centres are being set up in Bucharest and Siret so that there can be better coordination for evacuation, he said.
Approximately, 8,000 Indians, mainly students, are stranded in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said on Tuesday.
Four Union ministers have gone to Ukraine’s western neighbours to facilitate the evacuation of stranded Indians.
Hardeep Singh Puri is in Hungary, Jyotiraditya Scindia in Romania, Kiren Rijiju in Slovakia and V K Singh is in Poland to oversee the evacuation process.