Tamil Nadu

Medical students stranded in Kyrgyzstan seek government help to return home

A group of over 650 medical students hailing from Tamil Nadu has appealed to the Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, to help them return home.

The students, who had been pursuing medicine at various universities there, say that they have been asked to stay within their hostels in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been facing issues with respect to their health, lodging and food over the last few months.

M. Giridharan, a first-year MBBS student hailing from Villupuram said that students have submitted petitions and emails to the Indian Embassy in Bishkek seeking an arrangement of repatriation flights to Tiruchi or Chennai. “We have written requests, emails and even tweets. After months of struggle, the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission had included two flights to Tamil Nadu,” he said.

A total of 324 students reached Tamil Nadu between July 2 and 4. However, many students hailing from central and southern Tamil Nadu, including Tiruchi, Madurai and Ramanathapuram continue to be stranded, he told The Hindu via a mobile messaging platform.

The students circulated a crowd-sourced spreadsheet among their contacts and found as many as 641 Tamil students at various universities situated across many cities in Kyrgyzstan. “The COVID-19 cases are gradually increasing here and we are in a lockdown. We have been asked to remain in our hostel rooms, but the food supplies and lodging facilities have taken a hit. People are unable to reach the hostel,” said Mr. Giridharan.

While students from other states were being evacuated, the Tamil Nadu government is yet to respond to their pleas, Mr. Giridharan claimed. “We are not able to go out and purchase what we require on a daily basis. COVID-19 cases are increasing and there are no good medical facilities, which is why we are asking our government to help,” he said.

T. Manikandan, a second-year MBBS student at Jalal-Abad State University said that while they are trying to return home, their parents here are worried sick. “We continue to tell them that we will be back soon, but even we are clueless,” he said.

Some universities, like Mr. Manikandan’s, have begun online classes, he said. “We can do these classes from home as well, so we request the government to arrange flights to Tiruchi if Chennai is not possible,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 6:24:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/medical-students-stranded-in-kyrgyzstan-seek-government-help-to-return-home/article32031501.ece

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