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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Bengal govt offers free home trip for students stranded in Ukraine

Through public speeches and social media handles, Mamata has been constantly criticising the Modi government for delaying the evacuation of pupils

Snehamoy Chakraborty Bolpur(Birbhum) Published 06.03.22, 01:00 AM
Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. File photo

The Mamata Banerjee government has offered free domestic air tickets and transport back home from Calcutta airport to students returning home to Bengal from Ukraine, the initiative coming at a time when the chief minister has been critical of the Narendra Modi government over delay in their evacuation from the war-torn country.

So far, 200 students have been identified for the facility. The exact number of students back in Bengal from Ukraine has not been ascertained yet.

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“We will facilitate free air tickets to Calcutta and free transport from Calcutta airport to the districts concerned for 200 students. Our office of the resident commissioner in Delhi is welcoming students and offering their stay at Banga Bhavana without cost till they get tickets,” said a senior state government official. “As of now, only one medical student who landed in Mumbai did not accept it as his family arranged his transport separately,” he added.

State government sources said the initiative was taken after chief minister Mamata Banerjee proposed to take care of those students from Bengal coming home from Ukraine.

Through public speeches and social media handles, Mamata has been constantly criticising the Modi government for delaying the evacuation of students from Ukraine.

But she did more than criticise, said Trinamul leaders. “Didi is always sympathetic towards people from our state in crisis. This time she instructed officials to help students returning to Bengal,” said a senior Trinamul leader.

The Bengal government set up a special control room on February 25 to help students and people from the state stranded in Ukraine.

Akib Mohammed, a medical student in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, reached home in East Burdwan’s Purbasthali on Saturday. Akib said after the pain of surviving a war-torn city and a 15-hour wait for immigration, he was “really relieved” when Bengal government officials welcomed him at Delhi airport on Friday evening and arranged his flight to Calcutta.

Akib flew to Delhi from Poland. “It was really a nice gesture…At Delhi airport, a Bengal government official arranged for me an air ticket to Calcutta and said transport would be available at the airport to drive me home in Purbasthali. The latter wasn’t needed as father was waiting at the Calcutta airport and we returned home in a car he had hired,” said Akib.

Akib (centre) with his mother at his East Burdwan  home on Saturday.

Akib (centre) with his mother at his East Burdwan home on Saturday. Dip Das

Trinamul MLA from Purbasthali North Tapan Chatterjee called on Akib on Saturday morning and gave him flowers and sweets.

“I wanted to wish him all the best after he returned from Ukraine. Our state government is taking care of those returning from Ukraine,” said Chatterjee.

Arghya Majhi, a medical student at Kyiv Medical University, landed at Delhi Airport on Saturday morning. He said state government officials gave him a warm welcome at the airport.

“An official reached out to me and took my address. He assured me not to worry while handing over a flight ticket to Calcutta. I was assured a car would be there to receive me and take me home,” said Arghya, who is a resident of Raidighi in South 24-Parganas.

“Under the directive of the state government we are sending cars to Calcutta airport to bring back students from Calcutta airport to our district," said K. Radhika Aiyar, the Bankura district magistrate.

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