The stranded citizens of Meghalaya include 60 students of the Agriculture University and Food Technology Institute in Manipur and 25 members of Shillong’s Lajong football team.
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said the special flights were organised in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Director-General of Assam Rifles based in Meghalaya, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and private airlines.
A three-member team led by Meghalaya Health Minister Ampareen M. Lyngdoh has reached Imphal for monitoring the evacuation process, the statement said.
More than 25 people were on their way to Meghalaya via Assam’s principal city Guwahati by May 5 afternoon. Arrangements have also been made to bring back more than 60 students by special buses via Nagaland and Assam, officials in Meghalaya said.
“We are bringing back our stranded citizens, who wish to return home, through regular flights and chartered flights with special permission. The Lajong football team has already been escorted to the airport, and we are making every effort to ensure the safe and timely return of all our citizens,” Meghalaya’s Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma said.
“I would like to urge the students from Meghalaya studying in Manipur and their parents to please not panic and be calm. We are working closely with the Union and State governments, and security agencies to ensure the safety of our people,” he said.
The Meghalaya government also launched a helpline – 1800-345-3644 – for citizens who may require further assistance. Agriculture and food technology students have been advised to reach out to the nodal officer, Remdor Dkhar at 98631-14387 while medical students have been told to get in touch with Paul Chyne, a doctor at 98630-89972.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also provided a few numbers for people from his State stranded in the adjoining Manipur.
The numbers include that of the State Police Control Room – 0370-2242511 and 87948-33041 (WhatsApp).