Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Modi seeking more repatriation flights from Saudi Arabia

Kerala on Thursday demanded more flights to be operated from Saudi Arabia as part of the Vande Bharat Mission. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that of the 270 flights operated as part of the mission, only 20 were from Saudi.

On Thursday, leaders of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre met the chief minister, demanding operation of more flights from Saudi Arabia.

Of the 87,391 Keralites who registered to return to Kerala from Saudi, only 13,535 could return so far. Pinarayi pointed out that a majority of those who wish to return from Saudi are either those who lost their jobs or with expired visas or pregnant women or aged people suffering from various illnesses.

Taking these into consideration, more flights should be operated, he said. Meanwhile, the state government has been giving clearances to those who wish to return by private chartered flights.

Leaders of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) met the chief minister, urging him to put pressure on the Centre to operate more flights. The KMCC leaders had 12 major demands, including a special Covid package for the expats.

The KMCC urged the government to provide financial assistance to Keralites who died abroad due to Covid. The CM entrusted Norka principal secretary K Ellangovan to follow up on the matter.