Repatriation flight poorly organized and unsafe in terms of social distancing - Punjabi
TV - OMNI News: Punjabi Edition - Toronto, 10/04/2020 - FEATURE, 6 min, Punjabi
Translated Summary: A lot of Canadians were detained in India because of the lock-down, but a number of Canadians have returned on recent repatriation flights. However, the odyssey from booking the flight to arrival in Canada will remain in their memory for life. One of the travelers, Dr. Dilbag Rana, said there were a lot of management problems. Entry to the airport was very slow. Ri Sihota is the moderator of the Facebook group 'Bring Canadians Home from Punjab.' Her father traveled on 6 April. She said the booking process was a lot of work and she was sleeping during the day [in Canada] to sort things out in India at night. Rana said they had to deposit the money for a non-refundable booking and then didn't hear anything for a long time. They traveled to New Delhi on a chartered bus that was quite chaotic in terms of luggage storage. Gurkirat Kular, who traveled on 6 April, said they were promised social distancing but the flight was over-booked. MP Ruby Sahota said emergency flights are negotiated with each country. The rules and protocols in each country keep changing. They tried to negotiate direct flights, but this was not possible. She said everybody coming from every country is paying a fee, not just people from India. The government is not making money on this, it is the cost of the airline. Sihota said the flights from India to London and from London to Toronto or Vancouver were 100% packed, without social distancing. Kular and Rana confirmed that the flight was fully booked. Sahota said they did consider social distancing and she knows the process wasn't perfect. Sihota said the repatriation was poorly organized and not safe. They are speaking out to ensure other Canadians stuck in India will not have the same experience.
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