New Delhi, October 27: The Supreme Court on Tuesday urged the government to “find some solution” to bring home Indians, mostly blue-collar workers from Tamil Nadu, stranded in Kuwait during the pandemic.
“You have to do something… You have to find some solution”, Justice M.R. Shah, a member of the three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, addressed Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the Centre. But the Centre said it was making every attempt to bring them home and the “availability of flights is no more a reason for being stranded in Kuwait”, The Hindu reported.
Referring to a short affidavit filed in court, Mr. Nataraj said the government was “fully sensitive to the difficulties faced by the Indian citizens”.
Nataraj said 83 flights of Air India, Air India Express and IndiGo have already been scheduled to fly from Kuwait to various destinations in India.
The government affidavit said that 559 flights had operated from Kuwait to India as of October 1. Out of 1.33 lakh Indians registered with the embassy for travel to India from Kuwait, the repatriation of 87,022 had been facilitated. Foreign airlines have also been pitching in with flights to India. The Vande Bharat Mission was on its seventh phase of operations in October.
Nataraj hinted that there were some “diplomatic issues” to be considered.
“That is why we are saying you have to find some solution… They want to get out of Kuwait”, Justice Shah said.
Senior advocate S. Nagamuthu, for Velinadu Vazh Tamilar Nala Sangham, said nearly 33,000 Indians were in dire straits in Kuwait without food, water and basic comforts. Every day was a trial for them while awaiting repatriation.
The court scheduled a hearing after four weeks.
The petition said the pandemic may continue for an indefinite period of time and citizens could not be left stranded in inhuman conditions in a foreign country.
It sought a direction from the government to make a list of stranded Indians, draw up a schedule for their repatriation and, in the meanwhile, get in touch with the Embassy in Kuwait to provide them with basic essentials and medicines.
The petition said that in dire situations orchestrated by a global crisis, each country took care of its own people. A foreign country would prioritise its own people over the Indians there. Added to this fact the majority of the countries were finding it difficult to match their efforts to the alarming spike in cases, it pointed out.