An “evacuation service charge” of $40 per head would be collected from Indians embarking on Naval ships from the Maldives, the Indian High Commission said. The charge, described by officials as reasonable and nominal, marks the first time passengers being evacuated by the Navy are being charged.
“This amount would be collected at the service fee collection counter after completion of the immigration process at the Velana international airport,” the mission said on Twitter.
The Navy saidINS Jalashwahad arrived off the port of Male on Thursday morning. It is scheduled to set sail from Male to Kochi on Friday morning with about 750 persons.
This is the first of the two ships sent to the Maldives under Operation Samudra Setu launched by the Navy for the evacuation of Indians stranded due to the pandemic.INS Magar, the second ship, is scheduled to reach the Maldives on May 10.
Defence sources and MEA officials had confirmed that sorties on naval ships and Air Force aircraft would be on payment basis and that would be determined by the Ministry of External Affairs in consultation with the Department of Military Affairs.
On the precautions to be followed on board, the Navy said, “The ship will be zoned to prevent intermingling of the crew with the evacuees.”
INS Jalashwa, the Navy’s Landing Platform Dock (LPD), has a capacity to generate 3MW of electrical power, 60,000 gallons (212 tonnes) of fresh water a day and has extensive medical facilities. The ship has been provided relief and COVID-19 protection material, as well as medical and administrative support staff, the Navy added.
INS ShardulandINS Airavatare heading to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for evacuation and are in addition to the civilian aircraft being sent.
However, official sources said modalities at the port of entry at the UAE are still being finalised and should be in place over the weekend.