Russia-Ukraine crisis: Indian students stranded in Belarus face financial crunch amid sanctions

Colleges insist on 100% attendance for the courses.



Reuters
Reuters

By Our Reporter

Published: Wed 9 Mar 2022, 8:04 AM

Indian medical students in Belarus are a worried lot as they are unable to travel out of the war-torn zone as the colleges insist on 100 per cent attendance for the courses.

According to media reports, the 2,000-odd Indian students studying in Belarus, which is a Russian ally, are feeling the pinch because of the sanctions. Most flights have also been suspended from Belarus.

“We are no longer able to make payments through forex card or international debit cards,” Khilan Khetani, a fourth-year MBBS student at Grodno State Medical University,” told a newspaper. “Nor do ATMs have local currency. Prices of daily essentials like vegetables and fruits have doubled. I am running out of cash in hand.” Khetani, 21, is from Rajkot in Gujarat.

Madhu Sudhan Rao Poluru, who is nearing completion of his six-year medical degree course at a university in Vietbsk, about 20km from the Russian border, said that if the situation worsens, he would have to return to India and his graduation would get delayed. Poluru is from Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. “Universities here require 100 per cent attendance,” he said.

A fourth-year student from Ahmedabad, Mansi Shah, said her university is granting leave only till March 27. “We live just 10 km from the Polish border but as Belarus is on the Russian side in the ongoing conflict, neighbouring countries are not open to us without a visa,” she said. And airfares have doubled in recent days.

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About 700 of the 2,000 Indian students in Belarus are from Gujarat. Rajesh Khetani, secretary, All-India Parents Association Belarus Medical Students, met Indian government officials and urged them to extend its Operation Ganga programme – which evacuated 18,000 students from Ukraine – to Belarus as well.


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