Assembly terms Centre’s bar on returning NRIs inhuman

Over 40 Malayalis remain stranded at the Fiumicino international airport in Rome for the third consecutive day on Thursday.  

The Assembly on Thursday adopted a rather strongly worded resolution that damned as “fundamentally inhuman” the contentious decision of the Central government to bar citizens stranded in Italy and South Korea without a COVID-19 negative certification from medical authorities at their respective port of departure from travelling to India.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition benches were empty when the ruling front passed the resolution by voice vote.

CM moves motion

Independent legislator and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally P.C. George backed the motion moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan under Rule 118. The resolution sought to urge the Centre to solve the problems faced by non-resident Indians (NRIs) due to the regulatory measures placed by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Opposition had displayed support for the resolution on Wednesday but walked out of the House on another issue minutes before Mr. Vijayan tabled it.

Mr. Vijayan said the Centre had introduced the “unusual” requirement for travel to India from Italy and South Korea, both COVID-19 hotspots, in a circular issued on March 5. The order (4/1/2020-R) came into effect midnight March 10.

NRIs left in lurch

The Centre insisted that citizens grounded for days in airports in those countries required a medical testimonial from authorities there to board flights to India. The diktat tantamount to “cruel abandonment” of NRIs, he said. The government has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the citizens to come to India. “We can vet them for the virus and treat them in our country if necessary,” Mr Vijayan said.

The House also requested the Centre to extend the visa period of NRIs who were finding it challenging to rejoin work due to travel restrictions placed by various countries following the outbreak.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 9:18:16 PM |

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