A Dream Flight it is But for most of them it’s their last flight too
TDT | Manama
“Most of the passengers … may not come back to Bahrain as they don’t have jobs and valid visas. “They were struggling to lead their daily lives.” A Pravasi Yathra Mission (PYM) organiser told Tribune as some 180 passengers fastened their seat belts on an Air India repatriation flight from Bahrain. All of the passengers, including four infants, were flown home completely free of cost.
Shouldering their expenses were “Pravasi Yathra Mission (PYM)” (Expatriates Travel Mission) with the help of the generous Indian community members in Bahrain. It was a first-of-its-kind humanitarian gesture since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Seeing that several Indian expatriates lost their jobs, income and accommodation due to the pandemic, they chartered a private flight to repatriate them back to their home country for free.The 180 passengers flew from Bahrain to the coastal city of Calicut in Kerala. Many individuals and organisations extended their support to make their mission, called “Dream Flight”, a success, PYM officials told Tribune.
“The mission was accepted by the Indian community in Bahrain with wholehearted support,” they added. When asked about organising more such flights, they said that they may arrange another flight shortly to support the needy, based on the demand. The success of the first mission is ‘encouraging’ and makes us want to continue with the mission, they told Tribune.
The economic instability caused by the deadly coronavirus pandemic “has mainly affected small-scale businesses and shops.” “There has been a drastic increase of Indians, mostly Keralites losing their jobs,” PYM said expressing concerns. “Many of them are heavily depressed and are showing suicidal tendencies. They are eager to join their loved ones back home.”
Happy to stay PYM, however, explained that not all expatriates, who had lost their jobs want to go back. Indian expatriates, who have “valid visas are choosing to stay back in Bahrain with hopes of getting other jobs.”
“The expatriate community is happy to stay in Bahrain as the Government and the Royal family are always giving affectionate care to Indian expatriates,” said the PYM organisers, many of whom are Indian expatriates themselves who have lived and worked in Bahrain for decades.