COVID-19: 'Why no word about flights to Mumbai?,' asks Vile Parle local

Updated: May 26, 2020, 07:55 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Vile Parle local voices angst of city residents stranded and in deep distress in Dubai

Tolchard Ferreira is stranded in Dubai. (Right) Some of the stranded peoples' tweets to CM Uddhav Thackeray
Tolchard Ferreira is stranded in Dubai. (Right) Some of the stranded peoples' tweets to CM Uddhav Thackeray

Tolhard Ferreira has joined the tweet unhappy, snappy Twitterati, asking Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for repatriation flights back to the state and Mumbai especially. Ferreira was laid off in April this year, part of the 75 per cent work force of his Dubai company terminated because of the economic crisis. He has been in Dubai since, like so many from Maharashtra, awaiting a flight back.

The Vile Parle resident said, "I worked in Dubai as a logistics coordinator for a company since 2014. I lost my job in April. There are so many who have also lost jobs and want to come back home, several to Mumbai. We have been writing emails and tweeting, requesting the Maharashtra government to let us know when repatriation flights will operate to Mumbai."

Bitter feelings
The turmoil was evident when tweets started pouring in during a very recent address by the CM. Even as the address was on, we saw tweets like, 'Sir, we need flights from the Middle East to Mumbai pl many lost their jobs...' The Twitter overdrive has also said pregnant women who are marooned in Dubai want to return to the state. Ferreira added, "There are flights to other Indian states from the UAE. We are shocked and disappointed that there has not been any announcement yet, even for a single flight to Mumbai from UAE." Ferreira said they are reading about flights landing in Mumbai from Singapore, UK, USA, etc, bringing back stranded citizens. "Then why this indifference? Are we not citizens of Maharashtra? Why are we being abandoned?" he asked.

Savings depleted
Ferreira says though he is facing tough times, there are others suffering far more. He said, "When I visited the Indian Consulate some time ago, I saw poor labourers from India lined up outside the consulate with their bags. I do not know if they have anywhere to go. I live in rented accommodation with other people, my roommates are bearing the expenses on humanitarian grounds, as they have jobs right now, though there have been salary cuts. How long can I go on like this? Expenses here are eating into my savings." Ferreira said those stranded have registered on the repatriation website, "We are agreeable to all conditions, including quarantine on landing, some are willing to pay for that."

Ferreira said he had emailed the CM and Aaditya Thackeray, too, "but I only got an acknowledgement of receipt of my email. I have tweeted to the PM's office, hoping for some revert." Bryce Rodricks, Mobai Gaothan Panchayat's Andheri taluka sarpanch, said, "There is a very large community of East Indians living and working in the UAE. We are hoping the government brings back the marooned to Mumbai. The Mobai Gaothan Panchayat which represents the community, also tried to get some answers through political representatives and push for information and action on repatriation."

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