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India-UAE flight suspension: Stranded expats in low spirits as they face longer wait

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on April 30, 2021

(Reuters file)

UAE has extended travel restrictions until May 14.

UAE residents stranded in India were heartbroken after learning that travel restrictions had been extended until May 14. Businessmen, professionals, newlyweds, homemakers and kids — people from different walks of life — now face a risk of a longer stay in India as Covid cases and deaths rise across the country.

India reported 386,452 new Covid cases on Friday and 3,498 deaths since Thursday morning, taking the total death toll to 208,330.

A desolate Parvathy K., a newlywed Keralite, is desperate to return to the UAE, her ‘second home and the safest place in the world’.

“I was supposed to land in Dubai this week but the ban was put in place from April 25. My family in Thiruvananthapuram and my husband in Dubai tried all ways to get a ticket booked before the deadline but failed. The Covid situation in Kerala is worrisome. I wish to come to the UAE, which is the safest place to be now. I was born and raised in Dubai. Those who are currently in the UAE must consider themselves among the luckiest in the world. I also thank the UAE leadership for the invaluable medical aid it sent to India,” Parvathy said over the phone from Kerala.

Sharjah-based businessman Shahbaz Ali has travelled to India for a family gathering but is now stranded.

“I planned to return with my family on May 6 after the initial flight suspension. I was shocked to learn about this extension. I have started a few projects and my presence is required in Dubai. I am currently signing the documents and cheques from here and sending it to Dubai by post as our business runs completely on PDCs and LC payments.”

D. Parthasarathy is hoping that the government could consider some emergency cases. “I had rescheduled my return ticket for next week. Now, I am really worried as I have to get back to work as soon as possible.”

Abdul Azeez, a marketing executive, went to India after his wedding in Dubai. Now he is concerned about his job. “I wanted to meet my relatives as they were unable to attend my wedding in Dubai. I had booked my tickets for April 25 but due to the flight suspension, I couldn’t travel. My job requires my presence in Dubai.”

Residents in the UAE are also eagerly waiting for the return of their loved ones from India, especially with the upcoming Eid Al Fitr.

Shakir, whose wife and two kids went to India in January and were due to return this week, was upset that he won’t be able to spend Eid with his family in Dubai.

“My wife lost her job in January. She decided to take a break and go to India for a few months and meet her relatives. Since my kid is enrolled in distance learning, things looked okay. I had planned to book their tickets for this week, so that they can mark their Eid here with me. But it looks like it’s going to be a lonely Eid for me.”

S. Muza said he was missing his nine-month-old daughter sorely and was looking forward to marking her first Eid in the UAE. “I had sent my wife and kid to India a few months ago as I was changing jobs. Everything was settled now. I had booked their tickets for May 6. This would have been our first Eid together with our little one in Dubai, but I guess we will have to wait longer. I just hope they come here safe and sound, at the earliest.

(Inputs from Saman Haziq, SM Ayaz Zakir, Ashwani Kumar)





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