The Tamil Nadu government has decided to fly its legislators to neighbouring countries around war-hit Ukraine to airlift students from the state, becoming the first Indian state to join the international evacuation efforts.
Rajya Sabha MPs Tiruchi Siva, MM Abdullah and Lok Sabha MP Kalanidhi Veerasamy and MLA TRB Raja will head to Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia to airlift Indian students. Four senior IAS officers will accompany these legislators.
Chief Minister MK Stalin inspected the steps being taken to rescue Tamil Nadu students stranded in Ukraine, his office tweeted today.
“It is the responsibility of the Indian Government to safeguard the life of every Indian passport holder. @PMOIndia should reign in their Ministers from issuing unwarranted statements and put in their efforts for evacuating every Indian safely,” tweeted MK Stalin on Wednesday.
Earlier, the Centre deputed four senior ministers – Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and VK Singh – to fly to Ukraine’s border nations to coordinate the evacuation of Indian students stranded in the middle of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Jyotiraditya Scindia is in charge of Romania and Moldova; Kiren Rijiju in Slovakia; Hardeep Puri in Hungary and VK Singh at Poland.
The Centre’s ministers have been greeting the returning students with chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and flowers.
Visuals of hundreds of Indians stuck at the Ukrainian borders have been emerging on social media.
Opposition parties, mainly the Congress, have been sharing videos of students’ SOS and have urged the government to take urgent measures to evacuate students out of Ukraine.
Many students who headed to the border on foot, in sub-zero temperatures, alleged that they were unable to cross over and had received hardly any help from officials.
The first evacuation flight under what the government calls “Operation Ganga” arrived in Mumbai Saturday, bringing back 219 people from Bucharest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued orders to the Air Force to pitch in the rescue operations to augment the level of Operation Ganga.
A total of 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the advisories were issued and flights under Operation Ganga have been increased to facilitate the evacuation of remaining students stranded in Ukraine.