Monday, 30th October 2017

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Stranded in India: 769 foreigners

State governments and Union Territory administration has identified a nodal officer for assisting foreign tourists

  • Published 7.04.20, 4:33 AM
  • Updated 7.04.20, 5:22 AM
  • a min read
SSP Upendra Prasad Singh enquires from US tourists about their travel history during a nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, in Patna (PTI)

As many as 769 foreign tourists from across the country have registered on the “Stranded in India” portal within the first five days of its launch, sources in the Union home ministry said.

The tourism ministry had launched the portal on March 31 to identify, assist and facilitate tourists who are stranded in several parts of India because of the ongoing lockdown.

According to officials, every state government and Union Territory administration has identified a nodal officer for assisting such foreign tourists.

The five regional offices of the tourism ministry are constantly coordinating with the nodal officers regarding the support requests uploaded on the portal for facilitating ground support to the foreigners, if required, the officials said.

“The tourism ministry’s regional offices are also coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration and FRROs (foreigner regional registration offices) regarding visa issues being faced by stranded foreigners. Requests for movement within the country/ state and for transfer to home country of such tourists are also being coordinated with the ministry of external affairs, ministry of home affairs and with the respective embassy/high commission/consulate,” said a statement.

Many stranded foreign tourists, it said, has contacted the authorities concerned over email, telephone and also in person, depending on the nature of support required by them. They have been connected with the relevant foreign office of their home country in India and provided updates on flights out of India to their home countries. Wherever required, medical assistance, food and accommodation have been provided, the statement said.

A US citizen was stranded in Supaul district of Bihar while her son was undergoing a surgery at Delhi. The portal facilitated the required inter-ministerial, inter-departmental and state-Centre coordination and secured her a special transit-permit to travel to the national capital.

Two Costa Rican citizens, who had reached Chennai for a surgery (medical tourism), were stranded in the southern city after the surgery. Close coordination with the state government, the Costa Rican embassy and the hotel in which the tourists were staying helped the administration reach out to them, the officials said.

Besides, an Australian tourist with his family was stranded in Ahmedabad. The tourist has epilepsy and ran out of medication prescribed by Australian doctors. The portal ensured that the office of the district collector reached out to the tourist, the officials said.