Coronavirus outbreak: NRI stuck in city as wife battles COVID-19 in New York

Updated: Apr 14, 2020, 07:50 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

The man, currently in Versova, has his passport in Bhopal and awaits cops' nod to get there and back before he can take a service flight to the US on April 18

Akhil Bali with his wife and children
Akhil Bali with his wife and children

It IS a race against time for 43-year-old Akhil Bali, a Non-Resident Indian, who had visited India on a business trip and to renew his passport in December 2019 but needs to go back to the US urgently since his wife was tested positive for Corona on April 10.

However, Bali, currently in Mumbai, first needs to go back to his hometown in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh to collect his passport before he can take a flight to the United States on April 18. He has been facing a tough time securing permissions from Mumbai and Maharashtra police for an e-pass to Bhopal.

On a business trip to India
A resident of New York, Bali lives there with his wife and two children. He was on a business trip to India and had earlier planned to leave on May 8.

"I went to Bhopal [his native place] last month and kept my renewed passport and green card there," said Bali, whose mother was temporarily shifted to Pune in February at his sister's place since she was unwell.

"After the lockdown was announced, I was stuck at my Versova flat," he said.

Wife quarantined with kids
While the situation was tense here, Bali got a call from his wife on April 10 who was in New York with the children, saying she had tested positive for COVID-19. A doctor at Montefiore Medical center in New York, she is now home-quarantined with the kids.

"I don't know what to do. I want to take the first flight to New York but my passport and green card are in Bhopal. I have applied to the Mumbai police for permission to travel to MP," said Bali who was directed to the DCP office in Bandra by the Versova police and from there to the commissioner's office in Fort.

'My kids need me'
"I drove to the CP office on Monday [April 13] where they asked me to send an e-mail id but I haven't received any response to it yet," said Bali, who has sought a travel pass for two from Mumbai to Bhopal and back.

The US Consulate has allowed him to get on board a service flight that leaves India on April 18.

"I have been making hundreds of calls and sending messages and emails for help. My kids need me or the government will send them to a daycare centre," Bali said.

CP assures e-pass
Bali's efforts succeeded after he was contacted by Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. He was assured by the commissioner that a competent authority would get in touch with him facilitating the e-pass to travel to Bhopal.

"I am very happy that my request has finally been approved. I am leaving for Bhopal at any moment. I am trying to get back as soon as possible, so that I can get on some service flight," Akhil said.

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