Friday, December 9, 2022
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I had to sue Modi govt and Air India to be ‘rescued’ by Vande Bharat Mission

The harassment I went through as a stranded Indian in Germany during the coronavirus crisis, I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. And there was no heroic Vande Bharat rescue.

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I am one of the NRIs that the Narendra Modi government claims to have ‘rescued’ heroically from abroad through its much-celebrated Vande Bharat Mission. However, my experience with this ‘rescue’ mission has been one of the most stressful times of my life. It was an emotionally and financially draining experience. Finally, I had to sue the Modi government and Air India to get a seat on a Vande Bharat flight back home to Kerala. Here is my story.

I have been living and working in Europe since 2015, and in Munich since 2018. Early 2020, I got a job offer from an IT firm in Bangalore and I was all set to relocate to India. I put in my papers with my German employer and booked my tickets in March to leave Germany on 5 June. And then, both the German and Indian governments announced lockdowns due to the coronavirus crisis.

My German visa, called the EU Blue Card, is connected to my employer. So when the employment contract is terminated, the visa, too, gets terminated. However, considering the travel ban to India, the German government had made provisions for stranded foreigners to extend their stay legally in Germany without hassle. Then the trouble started.

Also read: Air India repatriated 6,000 Indians in 31 flights in first 5 days of Vande Bharat Mission

A social media government

One week before the scheduled flight to Thiruvananthapuram, Qatar Airways wrote to me saying that the flight had been cancelled and that I could reschedule (get a voucher) for a future flight or apply for a full refund. I opted for the latter and waited. That same week, the Modi government announced three flights to Delhi from Frankfurt under the Vande Bharat Mission to bring back stranded Indians. Our Digital India-endorsing government makes announcements only on Twitter and Facebook. The government does not update embassy websites or the websites of the civil aviation or external affairs ministries. All official announcements are made via Twitter. So if you, like me, don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, then you will miss out on these official government announcements. I got the link to the Google form only when it was circulated on a WhatsApp group.

For these first set of three flights from Frankfurt, the Embassy of India in Berlin (being the nodal authority for the Vande Bharat Mission) announced on social media that stranded Indians who wished to return had to register themselves via a Google form. This form asked for personal identification details and reason for travel to India. The procedure was that the Embassy would go through the applications and shortlist deserving passengers who would get priority to travel back. Naturally, pregnant women, senior citizens, students, or those stranded with expired visas would get first preference.

I waited after registering and my name didn’t make it to the list for the first three flights. The Berlin Embassy announced, again via social media, that stranded Indians needn’t panic because there will be other flights to more Indian cities in the coming days. In the next few days, Air India put up a list on its social media handles for Vande Bharat Phase 3 flights, which included a 19 June flight from Frankfurt to Thiruvananthapuram.

The Embassy instructed stranded Indians via text and video posts to directly book tickets on these flights through the Air India website on 10 June, when the airlines would open their bookings.

So, on 10 June, I tried to book a ticket on this flight. Unfortunately, the airline website showed that there were no flights on that date — even though all the lists put up on the official Indian government and Air India handles show this flight. Then, through a WhatsApp group of stranded Malayalis, I came to know that there are three other flights to Kochi from Frankfurt — on 16, 23 and 28 June. By the time I got this information, the flight to Kochi on 16 June was booked. But I managed to secure a ticket for the flight on 23 June for €650.

Also read: India plans international air ‘bubbles’ after US restricts Air India’s Vande Bharat flights

An endless wait

Despite all the miscommunication and misinformation, I was relieved when I finally got a confirmed ticket in my inbox. I spent the next few days cancelling my contracts (apartment, phone, internet, insurances, etc.) in Germany. I was scheduled to join my new job virtually on 29 June. Everything seemed to be going well.

Come 14 June and a new list was floating around these WhatsApp groups in which only the 16 and 19 June flights to Kerala were listed. From then on, the real nightmare began. On 15 June, this list was published on Air India’s official handles and on the external affairs ministry website. Most flights scheduled for or after the 19th were missing from it.

When I tried to retrieve the booking through the Air India website, it showed an error. Following all the rules and instructions given by the Berlin Embassy and Air India, I called and emailed the airline’s customer care portal.

After multiple calls (which included 20-30 minutes of being on hold and hanged on), I finally got through to an agent. For the last 15 days of June, I called Air India every single day to get information on the ticket and flight status. However, no clear information was given, and each time a different reason or solution was given, without any information about the flights. There was never an email or official communication from the Indian Embassy or Air India about whether the flights were, in fact, cancelled and, if so, why.

The final information that I got from the Air India agent was to wait until new flights were announced. Unlike other airline websites, Air India didn’t allow us to see our booking online. So, even if there are new flights listed, one has to keep checking the Air India website, find a flight with seats available, then call customer care, wait for an hour to get through and be informed that there are no more seats.

Apart from me, there were also older people and students who were due to fly on these flights that got cancelled without notice. I spoke to a student, who lived in Dresden, and couldn’t even afford to pay for his daily meals. He told me that he was calling Air India and writing to the Embassy almost every day seeking help. He said that he was waking up late every day so that he could delay his hunger a bit more and eat less food every day. Air India executives continued to read from different scripts and provided no information whatsoever.

Meanwhile, the joining date for my new job got postponed due to tax and legal implications. By 30 June, I had to vacate my flat, had no income, my phone and internet contract was cancelled and I had to take refuge at a friend’s place with no news of when I would be able to return to India. There was no information on the next flight or if the money I paid would be refunded. I wrote to everyone possible: the Berlin embassy, the Chief Minister of Kerala, and Air India. I even opened a Twitter account to inform the authorities through tweets, but to no avail.

Also read: International flights suspended till 31 July, some on selected routes may be allowed: DGCA

Filing a case

On 1 July, Air India again announced a flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore via Delhi. And the same thing followed. I checked online and called the customer care executive. After 20-25 minutes of waiting, I got through to an agent who said that there were no seats available. I tried 3-4 times that day and every agent gave me a different answer. Some said that the seats were sold out while others said the booking hadn’t even started.

After this continuous stress and harassment, I decided to go ahead and file a case against the authorities and Air India. My father, C.A Majeed, filed a writ petition, on my behalf, against the Union of India, Air India, State of Kerala, Indian Ambassador to Germany and Norka Roots in the High Court of Kerala (WP(C) 13506/2020) on 3 July. The case was heard on 6 July, during which the representative of the Modi government said that they were not aware of the case and hadn’t received the files. The next hearing was moved to 9 July. On the evening of 8 July, my lawyer was asked to provide my details (name, passport number, e-ticket number) and the next day, just before the hearing in the court, I was emailed a ticket confirming a seat for me on flight AI120 from Frankfurt to Bangalore scheduled for 12 July.

I managed to get a ticket and come home, but the harassment and stress that I went through as a stranded person in a different country, even after having paid the full amount for my flight, was unpardonable. Air India or the Indian Embassy showed little or no sensitivity in at least informing us of the cancellations on time or providing us with a solution. Despite following every rule by the book, the Embassy blamed Air India for the chaos, and Air India kept saying that the Embassy had ticket quotas that it allots to passengers it deems fit to travel.

When I saw all the advertisement and praise for the Vande Bharat Mission online, I felt everyone should know the callousness with which NRIs are being actually treated.

I had paid €650 for a ticket from Frankfurt to Kochi, and I was given a ticket from Frankfurt to Bangalore, worth €470. I had to book tickets from Bangalore to Thiruvananthapuram on my own and pay almost Rs 15,000 for my ticket and extra baggage. My joining date got postponed by a month, which meant I missed out on one month’s salary. And this is just my story. I got a place to stay and had some savings with me. There are so many other Indians, not just in Germany, but in different parts of the world, who may not be able to afford this ‘rescue’ journey. I wouldn’t wish this for anyone else.

It is high time that Air India gets called out for its irresponsible and insensitive treatment of passengers and milking such an opportunity to loot people in distress. And it’s high time that the Modi government takes notice and addresses the harsh reality rather than spending money and time on rosy advertisements.

The author is a former journalist and editor who now works as a content designer in the tech industry. Views are personal.

Read Air India’s response to this article, which was tweeted on 22 July:

The writer, Monty Majeed, responded to it by saying the airlines had got the date wrong and that she hadn’t received any information/communication about a refund for her flight ticket as on 23 July. 

ThePrint reached out to Air India spokesperson Sameek Bhattacharya who said, “We have already made our statement in our Twitter handle. We wouldn’t like to make any comment on it.”

The article has been updated. 

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  1. Nobody wants a free ride but when 60000 ticket is charged double do you justify also note lakhs are there holding ticket with other airlines so you can add that amount

  2. That is a much needed perspective on travel troubles via Air India. Having seen the “official” announcement of flights out of India to the UK this month, I booked a flight the day before to London via Make trip on Gulf Air. Partly my ignorance, I assumed too much. I got an email saying the flight is cancelled and they can offer a voucher to use for a rebooking till Dec 31,2020. What’s surprising is no customer service number works, whether it be Gulf Air, Make my trip, Kochi airport or anything. And nothing elaborates on the issue online. I have to not negotiate a refund and try to get permission to travel to the U.K. for my partner’s surgery this month.

  3. Congress’s Achievement: Looting for 60 years.
    BeeJayPee’s Biggest Achievement: Looting double that sum of money within a matter of six years.

    Congress = We have just one family that loots.
    BeeJayPee = We are one large family of looters.

    O Gullible People of India, judge for yourself which kind of looter you would prefer, or perhaps you could do very well without a ‘Government’. Gone are those days when a POLITICIAN could be trusted. Perhaps in future it would be better to live without the presence of a Government !

  4. 100% agreed,
    People in India thinking that they are patriotic and NRIs are not.

    They should remember Gandhi and Ambedkar also NRI s

    You must file a petition in the court.

    The entire pandemic was wrong handled.

    I too have documented to file a PIL.

  5. The Print is only cashing on Anti India & Anti Hindi Journalism & by appeasing Arabs & Commies from where they get their funding.
    This article written by an idiot & perfectly edited by The Print is an example of their biased & misleading journalism.

    • Ny proof to substantiate your preposterous claims or is it another day at your office i.e. the BJP IT cell ?

      • Instead of thanking Air India for bringing her back , she is complaining. This is a typical Indian mentality. In the midst of pandemic there were frequent cancellations due to constantly changing rules at port of entry. I see no reason why she could have not extended her stay by few months ? Just for a job? People should not have traveled unless there is some kind of life changing event. Trouble was called for her by self.
        Who are you a boot licking thankless Congressi?

        • Why should we thank Air India. Its not free service and other carriers are ready to fly. You create a situation of not allowing any other airlines to fly into India and call this a rescue. Air India is the worst airline to deal with. The Airline needs to be shutdown or sold.

    • you said it , I am also abroad and finding it difficult, not only Air India but all other airlines are having problems and I have seen people from other countries even Europeans stranded and suffering but then all the foreigners had one thing to say that Indian government is doing much better. Converts and this print specially have an biased attitude towards Indian Government. have to you noticed the mention of Modi government Modi government is just to stress upon their biased silly mindedness, they could very well have told Indian Government

  6. Ignore those “anti-hindu, anti-india blah blah, comments, but why would you leave a place like Germany to come back to India? For more money? Trust me, if I were in your position, I’d make sure I never had to come back to this place. I’d be willing to earn half of what I do here of it meant I never had to come back. What a waste.

  7. Nothing to say but a typical nri keralite tall shit about your country where ever you are. An think that kerala is better in every way. If it was the case then most people from kerala wouldn’t need to leave their state and work abroad

    • “.. people from kerala wouldn’t need to leave their state and work abroad ..”

      Well, in that case, the remittances that Keralites send to India and which bolsters up the Modi mismanaged economy should be confined to Kerala.

  8. All those who want to curse AI and Indian Govt., please remain satisfied where they are. Why are you returning to India if you have so many complaints against India system… Dont you think its Antinationals attitude and why one sud not punish you for writing such anti national comment.. Better stay and enjoy liberty (punishment) there..why the hell you want to return to India if its a hell… Better stay in your hell..

  9. All those who want to curse AI and Indian Govt., please remain satisfied where they are. Why are you returning to India if you have so many complaints against India system… Dont you think its Antinationals attitude and why one sud not punish you for writing such anti national comment.. Better stay and enjoy liberty (punishment) there..why the hell you want to return to India if its a hell… Better stay in your hell..

  10. Ye Aise hi Hote hain saala 5 years reh ke itna earn kiya 1000 euro mein iski lag gyi. Yahan per jyada paise mil rhe the to europe bhi chhod diya and ab ek month ki salary loss. Total Money minded person.

  11. You moron. First thank to God that you are alive. Instead blaming Indian Govt thank them they opened borders for all Indians who are stranded. You said many things right, just see you sitting in CM’s or PM’s seat and trying to solve issues in pandemic situation. I bet you, you cant even do a shit. Surprised how are you going to work in Corporate. Grow up Man!!!!

    • Absolutely correct. These people should be banned from India too. Never talk good things about our country.

  12. A malayalee communist with vested interest pulled in Govt of India and Modi in this matter. If Air India made mistake you have to challenge them not govt of India. Again media like print is anti Indian and i am blocking them

  13. Why didn’t your grandparents cross the border in 1947? Why do you feel such a great sense of entitlement. Stay in those countries only. Prickly pig.

  14. You are chu to leave your job during time and thinking to come back india at this time.

    Hope you understand

  15. can you get more entitled? I don’t think you have done it enough, people in regular circumstances faces issues like this some times and not just from India. and you want to be whiny brat for just logistical issue during pandemic times? salute to you. P.S. – that student deserved more help, and also I am pretty sure Germany has enough shelters to feed hungry.

  16. I have no idea why ppl on this comment are so angry at the writer. I’m 100percent related to this incident do u know how much is a ticket from Russia to India on your “great” Vande bharat flight, its 55000 rupees one way . The normal ticket price for one way is 12000 rupees. I rest my case. And if ur not an Nri pls dont judge how others feel. I’m still stuck in Russia due to the costly ticket price. I have done all I could do but still stuck while u ppl in India are afraid that we will bring covid to u. I have many times gone to depression and thought of doing negative things but I’m still hanging on so pls dont bully this writer. And I wish well to everyone.

    • Ask for free ticket. You might be lucky to grab one … hahahaha

      Is all NRI’s are these chapskate?? If you are depressed spend money and try to reach home

    • It’s the price that you are paying for services people are offering you to airlift from foreign land. Hope you earn enough and rs 55000 is meagre considering the risk.

  17. Look at name of the author. second he is from kerala and third this is print. so one can know what to expect from it without even reading it. enjoyyyy

  18. The print is anti-Hindu & anti-India. Combining with someone who only believes in Wahabism leads to above story defaming India and its Government. Many have learnt the lesson of life but I think you just started learning now. You don’t have the courtesy of job opportunity provided by great India but complaining even at this Covid 19 situation is a shameless attitude.

  19. Authors hindu phobia has affected common sense. Hundreds of thousands of Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis losing their job and getting homeless, and mr hindu phobic is complaining about pay cut and standing in air port

  20. Pro tip: when tough times strike, get a twitter and facebook account. You work in the tech sector, right? I am pretty sure you can figure it out. Sorry, not sorry. Thousands of people with real problems are still having a difficult time getting back home, you sir are lucky.

    I’m thinking of suing the government to have you sent back.

  21. I can agree with every bit of your experience. When the pandemic was at its peak, HCI London website was showing pictures of a cultural event with no update on the covid situation. I had to fill that embassy form five times and still got no response from the embassy. What is the logic of announcing flight details on twitter and not on MEA, HCI and Air India website. It has been a harrowing experience. The most shameful act was when the high commissioner packed her bag and left whereas common people were trying every bit to get a ticket. People in the comments section attacking the author didn’t face anything similar and hence, trying to defend the govt. Be in the person’s shoes to get to know how it feels being left alone in a strange country all locked up with bare minimum food.

  22. Please like you can never improve your mindset. Everyone in world is in one or other problem.
    If you cannot save even to survive for a month after staying there for long time.. then believe me.. you need to introspect yourself only.
    See how many people are happy after they reached own land.

    Have some patience dude and try to think from other perspective as well. This will help you in long run.

  23. Yes we are going in stressful time but air India should learn from it’s process and identify where they are going wrong,they are not doing this for the first time .Least they can do is inform the people who have booked their seats and return the payment money when they cancel flights .If they can’t handle the situation they should opt out and other carrier take over .

  24. Somehow am unable to believe, I do stay as a bluecard holder, when you said you been working for 5 good years in Germany, you naturally can avail the social insurance and could have stayed in peace .. could have booked some repatriation flights.. and could have moved out of the country.

    Am unable to believe, Germany will not push anyone when they have a proper residence permit and you been a tax payer !!

    Looks like a made up story to me !!

  25. Why do this blog portal even publish such blame game articles. You are an NRI as me, and face the challenges buddy. People have lost jobs in India, and they don’t earn in euros as you. Thank that you have a job. Learn to show gratitude for what you had in thsi challenging times, thank shelling out your agony and spreading negativity.

  26. People of India,

    It is time to revolt against the Government.
    The Govt can certainly not be trusted.
    They have shown how crooked they can be.
    It is a known fact that the Govt does not trust us – citizens.
    They think everybody else is corrupt like themselves.
    Millions of citizens have lost their jobs.
    Millions of businesses have failed.
    Millions of agriculturists are suffering.
    Millions of traders are suffering losses.
    Lakhs of people have died because of the COVID crisis.
    Overall, the economy has collapsed.
    And all the while, the Govt keeps saying that “Everything is fine”.
    They think we are all FOOLS !!!
    The Govt has done absolutely nothing for us.
    Therefore it is time to revolt against the Govt.
    This is the only way we can give a new meaning to Democracy.

    -The Common Man

    • Common man, go educate yourself and create 10 jobs and build fee school. Instead of sitting here complaining about “government”, no government in the world is perfect, it is the people of the country that make a better country and democracy. Revolting does not but pushes back the FDI that is needed to fund many start ups.

  27. Today people doesn’t have any gratitude. Air India pilots risked their lives to bring these mindless people to India. Posting these senseless articles and asking for paid subscription is useless. Print should stop posting these 1 sided articles to attract paid subscription.

  28. You self-pity, selfish, and insensitive aaa
    . It’s good that you are not a journalist anymore. Really, you are complaining about missing out on one month’s salary and Air India not providing premium services during the pandemic when every country closed its borders.

    • Very true, me too stuck somewhere and faced many struggles that doesn’t mean cursing will ease my struggles. I don’t know how such articles even publish. I am thankful to God,and doctors who conducted my covid 19 test and yhan all policemen who are standing selflessly.Moreover a big salute to Modiji and Air India, after suffering from such crisis making us meet our family. I will not do such mistake by forgetting Airport staff who were strict but being strict doesn’t make them bad. An educated person will obviously understand these circumstances.

    • Totally agree. When this people leave India, do they get local government’s permission to live in another country or accept projects outside? What a unappreciative pig.

      PRINT. and you bothered to publish this nonesense and expect me to pay for your subscription?

  29. You self-pity, selfish, and insensitive aaa
    . It’s good that you are not a journalist anymore. Really, you are complaining about missing out on one month’s salary and Air India not providing premium services during the pandemic when every country closed its borders.

    • Wow – enlightening to see that so many Indians on this thread think that anything more than what this poor man suffered would be “special service”. Is that how low your expectations are from your beloved Modi sarkar?

  30. First of all be thankful to everyone & thank God that you are back to India. All your negative statements in this article are due to your arrogance and ego.

    Please think about migrant labour’s in other countries who are stranded, struggling and starving. Please try to contribute for their well being through your prayers, contributions & service. God bless you with peace & happiness.

    • and migrant in our own country……..really this man should read reports about what happened with migrant laborers from Bihar and UP ……Great gopi bro


  31. not all NRIs faced these issues. 90% of the needy have come back and are thankful. If you are young and able you can easily weather this storm, but u r a snowflake who has never seen any struggles or it does seem that way in your writing.

    • Typical Indian.
      Scaming people is fine,
      The fools get scammed and learn their lesson .
      And most people live and weather the storm.
      In other words , poor have problems Indians don’t care. Women have problems Indians don’t care. Indians just don’t care because everyone goes through problems so problems are natural and normal.
      Husband beats you ? No problem suck it up, many Indians beat their wives , don’t be privileged. Got mistreated ? No problem many Indians mistreat others.
      Pathetic morons in the comments

      • Excellent summary of the dismissive Indian approach to society’s problems. No wonder things have stagnated in the country.

  32. U have no clue how others are suffering or r stranded. Why make a hue and cry in this abnormal situation. Plz tell us are other countries even having such frequent evacuation flights NO. So shut up and stop bad mouthing India and the Govt. stop asking for publicity.

  33. It’s ones perspective and way of seeing life. It’s easy to bitch about everything government doing.

    I also gone through all of those problem he mentioned.

    Anyway with amount of people stranded in both India and Germany are more. But in this Corona time we can’t ask everything to be proper and seemless.

    Even though I faced all challenges, I feel they done very good job.

  34. When spending gala time like an NRI did u ever think of donating some of you earning to India. Instead of being thankful u people start blaming the govt. If something good then Kerla Govt if something wrong then Modi Govt. Wah wah.

  35. I travelled with Air India in an rescue flight from India (Hyderabad) to Germany (Frankfurt). This is the flight where mostly German Embassy people are present and ideally it should be Lufthansa which should run this mission but they didn’t dare!

    I know the difficulties you are talking about. I know it was not a pleasant journey. But brother do not underestimate the bravery of running these flights in a such a times. When we reached finally after a 13-14 long tiring flight, where no proper service was there, no fancy food was provided, not even the entertainment is present…. Germans gave a standing ovation and they were so greatful for what Indian government did. Also, when the captain made the final announcement, he said Jai Hind loudly. You know what was the reaction? Everyone in the flight clapped and cheered!!!

    I know you have found a platform to spread your hate and I know you are hurt because you lost your one month salary but what exactly are your losses in front of 1.3 billion people (which we call as a nation). I am honestly feeling sorry for you for having so low thoughts because even after living as an expat for few years, you worry about your one month salary and that too in these conditions???

  36. He is a Muslim and this news agency The print have a bias towards modi govt and Hindus. That’s why they had printed this news to defame govt. In the time of crisis you should be happy that atleast you got the ticket and came home atleast govt tried atleast the crews took the great risk. But still they want 5 star treatment which they will not get in Pakistan or any other Muslim nation. Shame on you.

  37. I personally know people who were rescued by this mission just before the pandemic hit. Ofcourse there will be a few errors when you have to suddenly plan this large operation.
    The govt has no legal responsibility to fly you out of some other country, so your entire claim i sued the govt is dumber than your bigotry.
    In tough times like these even the worst of people try to empathise, but i didn’t expect fanatics to become tolerant, thanks for reconfirming my assumptions about you people.

  38. In crisis time people do face problems, the thing is patience is the key. I have seen so many people booking the flights and canceling later, so as per your case GOI should file case against them too.
    I am not saying you have not faced problems but difficult times have there own problems. Regarding embassy information system, no they were emailing every individual who registered you are wrong in that.
    And I can tell you with experience of people I know embassy took care of every individual who faced monetary issues. But ideally noone staying in Germany who came to do job or study is so bankrupt that they can’t even afford food.
    If this is the case they should not overburden their parents as we have many good universities in India.

    We all face problems and we feel angry and bad about it and yes mismanagement happens across the world their can be reasons for it, but this can’t wash aways the efforts done by the Government.

    So according to you MODI is responsible why not Kerala CM intervened he should also be held responsible for it?

  39. Thank God you are alive and back home. Millions suffering in the country and dying every day because of this pandemic. Be happy with what had happened to you.

  40. Fake story to get attention. Writer is Majeed, father of the story actor is Majeed, sorry said virtual job delayed due to legal and tax complications but lastly blamed on gov, kya bhai public ko fuddu samze ho apne jaisa. U keralities has issues with india and indian gov. I lived in gulf and found every keralities hate our gov and our country.

  41. It’s hard to believe that a person who is hired by an IT company and doesn’t have a tweeter or Facebook account. Also believe what goes around on WhatsApp forwards is always free.

    Mr so called NRI is not from this planet.

    Moreover, it seems the airlines staff was harassed by making numerous calls and emails.

    DGCA’s Vande Bharat Mission was the only source you could come back to your motherland.

  42. Dear author. I can see no matter what government do, there will be people like you who will always criticise the government for their own sake. First, you should be happy that you are safe and alive. Second, you should be thankful that you somehow managed the whole thing and government didn’t leave you stranded. Thirdly, you had enough money and still calling everyone a lootera! Why you wanted to move to Bangalore when you were here since long? You might be earning decent money with good social security. Mind it, I am also in Europe on Blue card. You decided to moved back but due to covid you weren’t and ultimate blame for your never ending suffering falls on government of India. Kudos to you!

  43. Airlines are hard to run businesses in general. Air India is a government-owned that makes it worse.
    Nonetheless, under the circumstances the mismanagement is understandable.

    Commenters, please don’t assign a motive based on a person’s name.

  44. Who is responsible for the havoc worldwide ? Did u ever write any article against it? U wont and only blame GOI for all crisis.Today entire world is struggling to get things to normal routine and we all are aware the kind of population we have and facilities we have to tackle such a pandemic situation. But I will still thank GOI and Modiji for his courageous decision to put entire country under lockdown. with such huge population and admission of lack of medical facilities and treatment and handful of people paying Taxes how can government survive.

    Even parents are stuck in Australia since March and no tickets confirmed as yes as demand is manifold compared to supply ,but patience is the only thing that we should have.

    Even I am stuck abroad and didn’t meet my family ,my small children aged 11 and 5 but still waiting for my turn to come, that doesn’t mean I blame the system.

    It’s a phase of life and we need to overcome the same.

    Jai Hind

  45. U had every reason to blame the govt ,but what if like many other countries the govt didn’t even start their repatriation flights bringing back stranded INDIANS back home.

    It’s a complete challenging situation should govt take care of it’s people who are already facing medical challenges or should they focus on those Indians who went out voluntarily for their prospects.

    Even I am stranded out and didn’t even meet my small children since almost 8 months but waiting for situations to become normal.

    Thank God that u are safe and with your family.

  46. After reading the comments here I got convinced that we deserve a govt what we get. People are more interested in defending their favorite govt than discussing issues at hand. The main issue here why can’t the govt plan and communicate the information professionally.

    • Well said Mr Shridhar !

      It is mind-boggling to see educated Indians do everything but hold the government they elected responsible for its failures. This reminds me of the behaviour of bhakths during an earlier hare-brained decision: demonetisation.

      During the massive self-goal called demonetisation bhakths would bend backwards to defend the PM’s certifiably foolish and reckless decision. When Modi realised that he had blundered big time, he cunningly escaped responsibility by getting the likes of Arun Jaitley (RIP) and Nirmala Sitharaman to face the music and defend the indefensible. Yet, despite the economy tanking, hordes of bhakths would defend Modi’s folly tooth and nail.

      The Vandhe Bharath débâcle and the even more serious migrant catastrophes that played out on India’s roads were man made err Modi made tragedies that the government should be held responsible for. Poor planning, a centralisation of authority with just 2 Gujarathis calling all the shots, the elimination of states from the decision making process have all contributed to this deadly fiasco. But ask a middle-class Indian, he will very likely say:

      “It is not Modi’s fault, it is Nehru’s fault”

      As the British novelist George Orwell (1903-50) said:

      “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices”

      • Dont lie Mr Kili!!
        The migrant crisis was made by the migrants!
        They chose to walk, the govt did provide 1 bottle of water for every 50km (or so) and …was it 2 packets of Parle-G??
        What can the PM do with Lakhs of Crores he got from the PM Cares fund? wasn’t that enough?
        1 Lakh crore was spent in water and Parle-G for migrants… accountability over.
        Bhaiyon aur Behno please keep contributing to the private PM Care fund.
        Can someone pro-govt please confirm the details?

    • One word… Corruption – Did you forget the slogan
      “Khaunga aur Khane doonga”
      or something like that?

  47. What Atul Kaul said is completely true, I dont believe that the author was being fair with respect to these trying times, he was just outright selfish. But I dont understand what the author’s name has got to do with this. If you dont have anything useful to contribute to this conversation then please refrain from bringing up a person’s background and culture as it has nothing to do with the issue. Best regards

  48. Indian embassies have a clear priority list, did you read that? You seem like someone that will be lower in the list.

    These are difficult times for all of us. I have been in the Uk for the last 4 months, on a vistor’s visa. I have registered for the flights, but still not been called. The number of people trying to get home is unprecedented. The world hasn’t seen an emergency like this in a 100 years. Some, like me, will understand. Others, like you, with that enormous sense of entitlement, will claim victimhood. Sad.

    Telling that you sued Air-India, and not Qatar airways, your original choice of carrier.

  49. It’s the choice you made to select Air India. And not vice versa.

    I don’t know if you are aware that dozens of Air India pilots are infected with Covid just to take care of thankless people like you.

    u should be grateful that GOI got you back. Your issue is trivial … inconvenience. Frankly, you are giving yourself more importance than you deserve. Be happy that GoI finally came to your rescue. If you were feeling so hassled, why did u even bother to take Air India.

    Just because you are an ex journalist, you are trying to gather sympathies, which you don’t deserve.

    650 euros are peanuts for this rescue

  50. Interesting that the author left India for good few years back… and now expects to be treated as a VIP whom the GOI has duty to bring back to India. Why did he have to change the job and come to India in the first place ? Visa issue and not due to GOI.

    I know several Vande Bharat happy stories – and there will be exceptions, this one isn’t terrible as he atleast traveled.

  51. If we don’t have a faith & believe on our country to get out or earn our staples only at here then these kind of problems may occur occasionally.

  52. the vast majority of the comments higlight the mentality indians that will never change. they blame the victim and are always lickign their political masters boot. they are always in fvor of their corrupt indian masters and teir companies

  53. This is also called ungratefulness.
    it would have been better, if you were left there stranded. Thousands of NRIs are still stranded world over.
    Any government can do only so much.
    And, platform for your grievances is the key, only The print, Modi hater, will be ready to publish this concocted story.

  54. Covid 19 is an international pandemic and don’t judge a country on the basis of ur experience. India being a developing country is doing many things for its citizens and non citizens which even European countries cannot afford. Stop spreading negativity and panic among common people who are still to be rescued. U have excellent writing skills, so write something positive which u have experienced during ur journey. Then it may not be either published in ‘the print’ or u maynot get paid. Unfortunately negative news can be easily sold

  55. First of all, before blaming the government or Air India, you need to think what you could. If you are that much desperate to go back to India, you could register to Twitter or SNS for more information. It will not take much time to be done. Everyone else is making best efforts for it. You are not the one who is privileged to receive Whatever you want by waiting others.

    For myself also, while in business trip to foreign country, lockdown started and my wife is waiting in Delhi over 3 months. Everyone is separated and bearing the pain, however, wishing India come back to normal and safe again.

  56. You sound like a whining Kid with a political agenda to to me…There a huge number of people in different countries facing same issues, you should be thankful that you reached home. India and Modi Govt is doing very good as compared to other countries.

    • Mr Navneet: Care to explain what exactly is the “political agenda” in this ? Or would have preferred that the author had blamed Nehru for this? Or the Congress party?

      And pray tell me, on what basis do you claim :

      “.. India and Modi Govt is doing very good as compared to other countries. ..”

      Did you do some comparative analysis to rank countries on how well they performed in getting their citizens home ? And please factor in the suffering inflicted on poor migrant workers in the country when you do so.

  57. Stupid rationale, who the hell in the world has not impacted by COVID. This won’t stand and he may be fined for wasting court time, check some fact of people who went count with trouble due to pandemic. Better focus your job, at least you have one in the pandemic. Air India is always irresponsible under govt cover. This is no more a story to share.

  58. sometime you need to check in spam for reservation tickets.. even i have booked VM air india ticket initally in inbox it was not showing. later after two days i searched spam message then i got it. check your spam mail and sue to google also..

  59. My Cousin and her family travelled from San Diego to Chennai by Vande Bharat flights around 20th of June. They did not face any hassle. But these are extraordinary circumstances. I think so many others would have faced similar situation. Part and parcel of life in this pandemic. Giving so much publicity is not warranted. Hope ThePrint publishes some positive experiences too.

  60. These people can only spit, throw stones and stab your back irrespective of whatever you do for them. Nothing else expected.

  61. Why do you sound like GOI owes you something? You went there for yours and only yours sake. You were stuck, that is unfortunate. But so were millions of people. Just because you can’t figure out how to book yourself a ticket doesn’t mean that the mission was a failure. Thousands of people returned home. Your are just a lousy cry baby. No body owes you anything buddy!!

  62. In this day and age, a journalist does not have twitter or Facebook? Is that even believable ? Also why would you wait till June to return to India? Vande Bharat started flights since May, you could have traveled earlier?

  63. Point of view noted. But repeated reference to the government as ‘Modi’ Government is curious. I never heard or read similar references to ‘Manmohan’ Government or ‘Rajiv Gandhi’ government ‘Gujral’ government or even to ‘Vajpayee’ government. I am sure Modi can never claim to control each and every nut and bolt of the massive Government machinery and therefore people in the chain who are nearer to the actual inconvenience must be held accountable, like Chairman or CMD of Air India or the Embassy and the Ambassador. Holding ‘Modi’ Government accountable seems a ‘grudge’ and not customer ‘complaint’ – even though it is a very significant inconvenience.

    • You are absolutely right!!
      Earlier governments used to be a team, today it is a single man
      Watch this space… only the PM will find a vaccine for Covid in the near future and you will see a million banners all over the country for it!

  64. I am amazed that lot of people are finding fault with the author. Or i think i should not be, considering how blindness is working overtime in our country.
    Apart from blindness, i have come to realize there are few other things in work, which leads to people abusing the author of this article.
    Our people just do not know what some of the terms used to describe or evaluate governance, progress, government and organizations in general. What i mean is, we do not know what some key words are, like what being digital means!. Smart city! what does that mean. When it came, i tried to find what truly it means, and it was lot of confusing things from digital payments to roads to toilets!.
    In this article, the author is trying to point out that when you are saying you are digital, just using twitter and facebook does not mean you are digital. Going digital means providing information which is easily accessible, authentic, accurate and timely, which will help do or achieve your intentions easily. In this case, catch a flight home.
    The same is true for terms like good governance, good management, etc. Our people have never seen how good governance and management can make life better and how it can carry the country forward. Since they do not know, they are not amazed at how the work done by Embassy and Air India was shoddy and callous!. And if you just think a little more, you know why Air India has such huge debt and is a burden on the government, and nobody wants to buy it!!.
    ya ya, i know , i know i am right, but all this is because of what congress did for 60 years!!
    So lets still be dumb and gawar, but lets go digital.
    Cheers, Enjoi

  65. How do we know that the author wasn’t a anti Modi or anti India person or even a Indian national. What if this is fake news.

  66. You just wanted to criticize Modi govt so you under this garb of not so happening experience with air India. Flights which came before your schedule definitely were carrying distressed passengers. Everybody is facing issues but they are not crying like you or start criticizing. Develop some gratitude that air India only brought you back and show compassion to people working day and nights for your comfort.

  67. I am a foreigner who was stranded in India since March 2020. My country government or my embassy did not bother to arrange any flight to rescue me. But when i approached air india, they gave a seat on one of their repatriation flights (flights going into my country to pick Indians stranded there). I also got all the special covid 19 related services during the journey from Air India. I was traveling with a child. Though they had fixed the seat price for returning foreigners, they were kind to give a specially discounted fare for my child. I am in my country now. I am happy with Air India backed by the Indian Government. Though i am a foreigner i can sincerely say ‘Vande Bharat’……

    • Complaining about Air India is the favorite pastime of Indians rich enough to travel. The real issue most have is that the airline is debt laden, loses money, and has too much staff per aircraft per mile, compared to other airlines like Quantas and Air Canada.

  68. Listen all who have commented on the topic above, first of all what they did for this country, secondly NRI has helped grow India, most of the investment for economies are invested by NRI and foreign investors. These people who commented are I think BJP and only like to support GOI wether they are right or wrong, they don,t have any bad experience like mr. Monty has I am proud what Monty did, there are so many NRI stranded in different part of the world. As Air India is the worst airline in the world,their moto is how to give trouble to the passenger while flying and also financially.

  69. I read the name of author and knew what was coming !!! Its a rescue mission, not a cruise vacation !!! I had a friend from kerela who used the service. It was not elegant or super customer friendly but it worked and he is back in India. But folks like the author will never say its a glass half full because of their name and call others communal

  70. For how many years have you been abroad? and have you Paid taxes in India or otherwise done anything for India?

    Why do you have this sense of entitlement? Which other country has flown so many flights for evacuation? In fact not only Indians, on certain opportunity AI evacuated Europeans from the US etc.
    Social media is best way to publish these updates abt certain flights. If they update websites they will need their IT teams help who are likely not available due to COVID problems globally. Express some gratitude.

    • Are you his CA? How do you know what he has paid? Is there a way to find out (seriously would like to know)?
      When he comes back, hopefully all the money he made abroad, he has spent on hookers and booze so that no foreign currency can arrive at our shores.
      You are also right about no other country having flown so many flights…. but when we need to thump our chest we forget some basic maths – I’ll break it down for you.
      First, close your airspace for all other carriers other than one bankrupt carrier so that it can be bailed out and sold.
      Second, charge 3X the price so that one flight to the US can bag a profit of 2crore (not my numbers… google it)
      Third, of course thump your chest hard and loud saying that you are doing repatriation, while all along you are desperately trying to bank roll the pandemic to your advantage (repatriation is helping, while milking a tragedy is something else!)
      Fourth, open a charitable fund that is not accountable under RTI and get money in lakhs of crores – unaccountable to anyone!
      Fifth, tell everyone that you are doing service to the nation so that they get patriotic while you line your pockets for the next election
      Sixth… seventh… eighth… OMG the list is too long!!!
      Very grateful for Modiji to help the people, but since his followers like comparisons – here is one
      In 1990 Gulf war repatriation fares were subsidized for those people returning from the crisis. They returned with money and opened businesses here.
      In 2020 pandemic people were charged 3X the normal fare to help a bankrupt airline and corrupt govt…
      Know the difference and learn to read the facts before you talk!

  71. Dear Legends and apparent Patriots,

    Not everyone who leaves india goes out so that he earns money rather a better life. Why don’t you all ask the government about their expenditure and the 200000 crores they allocated as corona budget? Did you all get benefitted by it? And believe me, atleast 1 paisa of the benefits you received is funded by the people travelled through VBM.
    You guys are speaking as if you are all working for indian government?! Many of these people who comments here are working for some international organisation who has a base in India. And NRIs don’t pay taxes is a myth. Atleast he is now moving to india and consequently would pay taxes there although he might earn more, right?! In fact he would pay more percentage of his salary than you all, based on your statements that he would earn more than what he did. Please learn about taxation before posting your shit comments here. I ask one of you to raise your hand and say that you had never in life visited an auditor and ask him about tax reduction.
    Why is that you people are ignoring the fact that he is speaking on behalf of NRIs throughout the world? There are students who has loans of several lakhs from PSU banks and paying interests. Imagine being them, not able to find a part-time job or ask their parents money to live. How will they afford a one way trip costing over 60000rs one way. The fall of airindia is because of mismanagement, the higher officials taking home in crores. Why don’t you ask them to reduce their salaries? And you all don’t even know if he provided money for any relief funds.

  72. When the whole world is facing problem, some people are expecting good service.

    Most undeserving article though.

  73. INDIANs can only complaint.Its pandemic stay where you are.Millions of Indians are staying abroad and now after pandemic everyone wants to come back.Bit of hassle n everything becomes chaos for you.Be grateful ,have wisdom so to you The Print.

  74. There is a name for your …. Wait I forgot… It starts with a and ends with e . ….

  75. You did the right thing. The Indian Embassy is the pinnacle of bureaucracy and they talk about ‘Indian culture. Air India is a lost cause, the only thing it should be said is an obituary.

  76. Very sad that this gentleman finds fault with the Mission which has helped thousands of young students stranded abroad with no money for food and accommodation, to return to India. Apparently a resourceful person, he appears to be so selfish and ensures that he gets his seat, surely at the cost of a deserving student. There is reason to believe that he is motivated by his hatred towards the Union Government and the people at the helm at present. The difficulties supposed to have been faced by him is nothing when compared to the hardship faced by the student community in particular and others in general.

  77. You are a classic example of small minded bigot who does nothing when living a comfy life and suddenly whines a lot got some stress or activity outside your monotonous life…be grateful to the country who rescued you and let you live peacefully with your family where u could have died within seeing your near and dears… sometimes i wish some people doesn’t deserves to be helped…they should get stranded ,hoping help will come and it shouldn’t…that should have taught you some lesson for spitting such nonsense..

  78. Air India is manned by stupid people who has no sense of responsibility. High time, this company is in private hands.

  79. You should be thankful to Shri Narendra Modi and air India
    And you are no special and lucky to be alive

    Just don’t use your mind which doesn’t exist anyways and respect Father of the nation
    Shri modiji. I will not describe him cause you will not understand

    • Mr Dhananjay: Since when did Modi displace Mahatma Gandhi as the “Father of the Nation”?

      One notes that the BJP has slowly re-instated Damodar Savarkar, the bigoted creator of Hindutva and a man who was jailed for participating in the plot to assassinate Gandhiji. One also notes that temples are being built to Savarkar’s henchman and the man who pulled the trigger – Nathuram Godse. One notes with alarm that BJP MPs and terrorists like Pragya Thakur endorse Godse rather than Gandhi.

      A continuation of this trend will mean that we will soon have busts of Godse in the Parliament. And perhaps even stamps of that assassin. And I guess the acme of the BJP’s history revision project will be when Mahatma Gandhi gets replaced as Father of the nation by Narendra Modi, the facilitator of the pogroms of Godhra.

      Jai Hind Mr Dhananjay.

  80. Why u remember ur country during crisis only & rest of the time abusing india while earning in euros & hailing the country you stay.What is ur contribution to the country you r asking help from?

  81. The author comes across as arrogant, entitled and privileged, with no sense of the situation.
    Only The Print will publish such crap, after all the idea is to make the Govt look bad right?
    Trash like this article, combined with support for the RG videos…. this is a one way route to journalistic oblivion.

  82. Since you are from kerala & obviously just to hate Modi govt you will say something rubbish. For my avoidance of doubt if it is congress govt u would have kept your mouth shut.

    • Annachi,

      There is no congress of BJP in the matter of poor treatment. It is just the way the Indian government is.
      If somebody from Kerala or West Bengal highlights an incident that is worthy of being highlighted, I don’t see why the thing being from Kerala or West Bengal is an issue ?
      Are you suggesting that you wouldn’t highlight these issues aanachi ? Since you bring politics into this. matter, tell me Annachi,, aren’t Tamilians averse towards the North Indians especially when they call you Madrasis ?
      Please – lets look at the crux of the matter here and appreciate that somebody experienced a very bad or poor treatment from the Indian government.

      • Dear sir, the Crux of the matter here is :

        1. that the Vande Bharat mission has brought back almost 2 lakh stranded Indians and delivered thousands of stranded foreigners in a period of global strife putting hundreds of Air India and Embassy employees at risk.

        2. If you do Ctrl F on this article, you will find the word “Modi” at least 10 times, leave alone the other indirect insinuations. It makes it very clear what the purpose of this article is. If the writer of this article is willing to give PM Modi credit for the 90-95% people who were grateful to be brought back, then it is fair on his part to target the PM of a nation of 133 billion dealing with a global pandemic, an economic downslide and a hostile China at the same time. But you know as well as I do that this isn’t the case.

    • Annachi – Don’t make such statements. From your language, I think you are an educated man.


    • Mr Kumaresan: Since you appear to be from UP or Bihar and very possibly belong to the Bajrang Dal, Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini or you are perhaps even a Godse worshipping member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, you will always, uncritically love the Modi government. And say something rubbish.

      Now, there you have it Mr Kumaresan: a taste of your own medicine !

    • your right bro. Anything that comes from kerala and the print, the scroll and the wire have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  83. He wants VVIP Treatment in a Pandemic and The Print always highlights these types of stories instead of thousands of positive efforts by the Government in these trying situations.

  84. I also returned by VBM flight. I too was desperate. My work visa as well as my passport expired. I informed Indian embassy. Everyone cooperated. I wrote to the twitter account of Mr. Hardeep Puri. It was answered. I returned safely and have no complaints.

    • The Covid-19 is not a normal issue. My domestic flight Spice-jet and Indigo got cancelled multiple times and I was stuck in a different state for the next 2 months. There are much worser stories than this, As for Air-India the flight itself has been having problems since the last many years. Think also how the staff are not being paid and they are taking great risks in transporting people in the vande bharat mission. Many people who have come back are very happy, its unfortunate that a few people have faced a lot of stress which is bound to happen in these kind of times. Be happy mate that you found your way back, Think of the migrants who walked hundreds of kilometres literally starving and carrying children on their backs. The central govt alone can’t do all the jobs , state govts. also have to do the job and above all in extraordinary times perfection is impossible. Sad to know that this person has suffered but give respect to indian state and air india for atleast getting you back,

  85. Everry one knows that this a not normal operation. the demand outnumber supply. There are limited number of seats. Becacuse of this guy who has ability to file case in court etc , may be someone who critically had to reach home because he was sick etc would have missed that seat.

  86. Dear Fellow,

    Firstly, be happy that you didn’t get Covid and are alive

    Secondly, thank your country for getting you back

    Thirdly, be grateful to the Air India employees and to the embassy staff , who inspite of all the difficulties and inspite of facing the risk of developing Covid have worked for you

    We all are going through difficult times

    Wonder what theprint editors were thinking when they allowed your whingeing to be printed?

    Regards and wake up man!

    • Very good reply sir. This is what I also would like to tell these people.

      This is COVID time, not a normal days. People are working to the best they can.

    • Dear Sandeep,
      I agree with you whole heartedly and wish you the same ordeal when your time comes!
      No one is forcing Air India to monopolise the skies! If they are so threatened, why not allow other airlines to fly the stranded passengers?
      I also 100% agree with you that we need to keep our healthcare funding at 1% of GDP while spending on statues, bullet trains and privatizing the country to the Gujarati businessmen. Thanks to the continuous effort of the govt, we finally have an Indian billionaire who has beaten Warren Buffet! Remarkable feat by the govt!
      Finally, wishing you the same to be thankful that you are alive!

    • Well said. First of all why didn’t you file a case against Germany for not taking care of you during COVID times?? Surprising you being a IT professional don’t own a FB & Twitter account?? Hope you have a email account. Modiji never asked you to work outside India. You need to be greatful that you came back. If you had somuch self-respect you shouldn’t have accepted the flight ticket alloted to you.

  87. I second to the hassles that you have gone through. We were asked to follow Facebook, Twitter rather than official ministry and embassy portals, not sure how many time I filled in Google form with sensitive information. Same was the case with me. You were lucky that you were in Germany. I had to travel from Denmark to Germany to catch the flight. Even with good amount of Indian population from India in Denmark, no attempt was made to have a direct flight. Indian Embassy in Denmark was clueless about what was happening. Experience of booking the ticket on Vande Baharat was no different than booking a Tatkal ticket for rail travel

    • Are you guys aware of the fact , that if this was done through the Ministry Website the server would have crashed ?

  88. Its normal in this pandemic, even i’m stuck but you cant blame to GOI. But but but, as name suggest you guys have only one job to do. Do yoj want a free ride, do you want a special service!! People from different countries facing a same problem not only you, even airlines are suffering so keep your shitty mouth shut. N this is “ The Print “ famous for writing anti bjp, anti-modi article. Fake news media

  89. The embassy website as well as the ministry websites did have the forms and announcements and the embassy sent out regular email updates…

  90. I was one of the beneficiary of Vande Bharat. While my experience was not stressful, that does not mean that it was overall a smooth initiative. And just because you had a stressful time does not mean it was a failed initiative. These are troubled times, and typical consumerist attitude is not really helpful. And in all fairness, your or my stress is nothing compared to what our less privileged citizens went through and are still going through.

    • I support the readers views.
      In his defence, I think its absurd to say that his / her problems should be compared to that of the problems of the common man in India. The typical attitude of any Indian government be it BJP or Congress is one where they don’t care about their citizens, All they believe is jugged which is frankly a Indian way of bringing back a screw up in a much poorer form.
      Separately, this whole Vande Bharat is just a scam as was identified recently.
      Be aware that your stress or the common man’s stress isn’t the comparison meter for anybody.

    • I’m still a stranded citizen of India waiting for my number in que to reach back my family in Hyderabad. I have filled the Google for many times but haven’t received an revert from embassy. Could u share your experience of how u could manage to book and return.

  91. The author seems like a real snowflake.
    Blaming the Indian government for international airline logistics.
    At a time where covid and India-china border conflict are sowing confusion and chaos. It would be expected that there might be logistical issues and missteps when moving people during a full blown pandemic.

    You just need to go with the flow instead of playing the blame game. This is not a normal situation. So you cannot expect normal levels of customer service. That you attempted to sue the Indian gov for this is laughable. Such a Karen…

  92. The writer is a selfish fake who has done nothing for his country or community and wants his two minutes of glory by scripting this article. Let me ask him did he inform the GOI when he went to work abroad? As an NRI he pays no taxes and enhances his wealth and lifestyle. Did he pay a single penny to any relief effort? Indians go abroad and make hay while the sun shines and the moment something goes wrong it becomes the duty of GOI to haul them back. In his case to help him join another possibly more profitable job. When the world is in a meltdown and mankind is suffering as they have never suffered before all he can think is of himself.

      • What’s the writers name got to do with this? If you have nothing useful or intelligent to contribute to this conversation then refrain from bringing up a person’s background or culture. Just the fact that you are doing this shameless deed speaks a lot about your background.

        • The fact that all defenders of complainer are foreigners to Bharat has no meaning ?!? Maybe you and your ilk should take your foreign selves back to Rome and Arabia, where Covid did nothing.

    • who said NRI don’t pay tax.. i pay more then the annual salary of average person here in India. Don’t b;ab things whoch you don’t even aware of. or if you have guts come public with your identification and then i will show you the ITR filled by me and the tax i had paid all these years as an NRI.
      stupidity has no limit and people like you are just fleas.

    • Completely agree with you. His is just a case of sour apples. Wants the best of both worlds! He might be the one who voted for Pappu in Kerala. If Pappu was our PM, this person would still be living on social assistance in Germany.

  93. Wonderful, never heard these people over past several years while the country was being taken to the cleaners, Air India was being used as private taxi without payment and to increase the burden we kept on increasing the population. Think Think….

  94. Its not normal times. People should expect such things to happen when a pandemic has taken over the entire world !! Having said the authorities/airlines etc were duty bound to help stranded people !!!

  95. Sad to see this. The people responsible must be fined and the man duly compensated for all the agony.

  96. Thanks for publishing this. The very fact that Air India was selling tickets at a very high price and calling it a Vande Bharat mission is preposterous.

    And no other international airline was allowed permission to do the same. Thankfully, the American government issued an ultimatum and other flights are allowed (from Aug?) at half the price what the great Air India charges.

  97. NRIs should not rush back to India in panic… It is like a bihari running to Patna from Mumbai and dying there due to COVID-19 with lack medical facilities… If you enough money and insurance to take care of your health, it is better to stay back in those prosperous countries than returning to medically ill equipped India

    • Baba: You use the sweeping term NRI to group a lot of Indians with varying degrees of rights – or lack thereof – in the countries in which they have been stranded in. Fact is, the GOI’s responsibilities extend only to Indian nationals who are:

      1. Tourists, students, family members on temporary visit visas stranded in foreign countries where they have little or no rights to health care, welfare etc. You see this category in Western Europe, Australia and No. America.
      2. Workers in foreign countries who have been laid off and have no welfare or health care benefits. This is seen in the Middle-East and to a much lesser extent in Europe or N. America.

      Other categories of NRIs who have permanent employment or are citizens of their respective countries will generally not attempt to come back to India. They are usually covered in terms of welfare and health services and are safe in their countries of domicile.

      However, the plight of people in the first 2 categories and who get stranded is pretty dire. Particularly for the blue collar workers in the Middle-East where their employers essentially treat them as chattel or slaves and simply dump them in camps with little food or other amenities. And these are vulnerable, not very highly educated and generally highly indebted Indian, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis etc. whose remittances back to their native countries not only staves off a balance of payments crisis but also fends of starvation in their own families.

      Recently, Kuwaiti actress Hayat al-Fahd recently sparked controversy after she said:

      “.. “If we get sick, there aren’t enough hospitals. If their own countries don’t want them, what are we supposed to do with them? Doesn’t logic dictate that in times of distress, it is better to get rid of these people? Deport them or throw them out. By Allah, they should be thrown out into the desert.


      For sure, Europe & N. America would not display the kind of barbarism that is rife in the Middle East.

      But nonetheless, your assumption that all Indians are better off outside India is simply preposterous. When times are trying, most humans seek the warmth of the families. And you see that within India as well with migrants trudging back to their villages in Bihar or UP due to an ill-planned lockdown.

      Hence, the Bihari running back from Bombay to Patna is not necessarily jumping from the frying pan to the fire but more often to the warmth and security his family.

    • Factually incorrect statement in the context of COVID deaths. As on 22nd July, 2020, Germany had 109 deaths per million and India 21 per million. So India is doing far far better.

      • Nonsense Mr Subhasis Ghosh !

        There is massive, I mean massive under-reporting of COVID deaths in India. And in any case, statistics and reporting standards in India are atrocious to say the least. And then you have people who die from perfectly normal causes – such as childbirth – becuase they are turned away from hospitals as they are unable to produce a “COVID free” certificate.

        Stop being a jingoist. This disease is a killer – directly and indirectly by eating up scarce hospital resources.

        India is NOT doing better than Germany. And as long as people like you don’t accept that things in India are not as hunky-dory as the Modi government tells you, the country is going to lurch from one crisis to the other.

    • Factually incorrect statement. The death per million in Germany is 109 and in India it is 21. Our country is doing far better in the matter of COVID.

  98. This is the problem , exceptions get to shout off the rooftops while those thousands who made it back happily despite india being a low income country will never be heard. By the way , the name says it all

    • communal bigot. what is the name you talking about? You are entitled to disagree with her but bringing religion into this?Idiots like who divide us on the basis of religion are the real problem.

    • Tere jaise low income wale paiso k mol nahi samjhenge ya kisi problem face karne k nahi samjhenge 2take k naukri Kar k sukhi roti khane wale k Kya farak padta h Teri soch awkad Tere comments se pata chal gyi mushkil se jine layak kamata hoga pata nahi h ki achi naukri k liye mehnat Kya hota h

    • Hi Sid-Dolt ,

      Why bring religion in this matter ?
      This person just highlighted their concern, period.
      Many of us agree and many of us don’t.
      I agree with this person as its filled with truth. The Indian government be it congress or BJP are known for their extra ordinary cock-ups.
      Please learn to be civil.

    • Sid I agree this is The Print so we should except as much on the religion angle, you were correct to bring it up.. However, this girl seems to be a computer programmer. She doesn’t have any obvious political writings. Wonder who she may be related to. Agree with most commentators, Indian government has tried to accommodate as many as possible. The young lady needs perspective though, many poorer Indians are suffering greatly, should India even bother with those rich enough to fly. She’s lucky govt did anything. Still, hopefully her work and studies go well.

  99. The angry author probably does not know that in these pandemic times things will not go as per schedule. Our elites always feel entitled. NRIs more so. The way he mentions the cost that he has to pay for his tickets seems to indicate that his real anger was that he was denied a free ride.

    • not free ride, but the ride at legimate price……….what was the need for pricing tickets high ?……that was completely unethical and shameful ……..was air india and indian govt going to use these extra bucks they looted to give to stranded migrant……..they are half Robinhoods and only know to steal

  100. Listen brother…. Everyone is facing one problem or the other… Its ok if u went it on blogs and social media… But everyone from every country is going thro something like this..
    And its not easy to bring and quarantine lacks of people as soon as u guys wanted to return when things got wrong

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