Around 700 Indian nationals who were stranded in Maldives have been repatriated by the Indian Navy ship Jalashwa. They reached the VOC Port here on Sunday.
Senior port officials, led by its chairman T.K. Ramachandran, Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri, Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan, Corporation Commissioner V.P. Jeyaseelan and other officers supervised the arrival of the passengers.
The officials said the passengers had departed from the port of Male around 9.30 p.m. on Friday and reached the outer anchorage of VOC Port at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
On arrival, they were screened by a health team on the port premises and their luggage was sanitised. As a safety measure, all passengers were given PPE kits, after which they boarded buses to reach the passenger terminal.
After obtaining self-declaration forms, they were guided on how to download and configure the Aarogya Setu app on their phones, using the free Wi-Fi provided by the port authorities. Soon after immigration and customs formalities were completed, the passengers were taken to the respective buses for onward destinations.
The officials said that all the passengers were given breakfast and lunch. This is the second call by INS Jalashwa to the VOC Port, as last week, the ship had repatriated 686 Indians from Colombo.
A State Transport Corporation official said that passengers bound for long-distance destinations such as Chennai boarded sleeper buses of the SETC, while those travelling to nearer destinations like Madurai were provided seater vehicles of the Corporation. Very few passengers, who were not fit to travel by buses, were given accommodation at the Government Engineering College, he said.
Source: The Hindu