Tamil Nadu

Medicos reach home, thanks to Sonu Sood

Hundred medical students, mostly graduates belonging to Tamil Nadu who arrived in Chennai on Wednesday, are full of gratitude towards Bollywood actor Sonu Sood.

They were stranded in Moscow for the past several weeks. They had finished their course and were to return home in July, but got stuck there due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

A graduate from Chennai said, “Our course ended on July 6. The Indian government’s Vande Bharat Mission was operating flights, but we were waiting to complete our course. We were hoping that the government would operate more flights. But no Vande Bharat flights were operated to Russia after July 6. We were trying to find out which airports were open. Unfortunately, all airports were shut and tickets were not available,” she said.

The students began communicating with Ministers, the Prime Minister’s office and the Chief Minister. They also tried to organise a chartered flight, but couldn’t get permission for the same. “One of our friends mailed 15 officials and Sonu Sood, who was helping a lot of people reach home. We found on social media that he had arranged a chartered flight from Kyrgyzstan to Tamil Nadu. We only got a reply from Mr. Sood. We mailed him on July 23, and he responded the next day. He gave us his manager’s number for coordination. Within two to three days, he said he had arranged a flight from Moscow to Chennai. There was a slight delay in getting the required permission,” the student said.

Initially, the plan was to airlift 200 students, but the number fell to 100. On July 31, Mr. Sood tweeted that he had arranged the airlift. He spoke with the students and assured them that the flight won’t be cancelled even if the number of students was low, the student said.

Mr. Sood said, “I have been helping migrant labourers and students stranded in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Cyprus and Manila. It has been hectic, talking to embassies and ambassadors day and night and connecting with students through Zoom. It’s not about money. When you are on a mission, you want to complete it. I haven’t been trained to do this, but I thought I must help these people out.”

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 2:05:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/medicos-reach-home-thanks-to-sonu-sood/article32280830.ece

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