Tribune News Service
Shimla, May 18
To facilitate the return of thousands of Himachalis stranded abroad, the Himachal Government on Monday prepared the guidelines and identified five State Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) hotels for their “strict quarantine” before they arrive at their native places.
So far 29 Himachalis stranded abroad have arrived in India.
Six each from the USA and Philippines, three from Dubai, two from Bangladesh and one each from Iraq and Singapore arrived at Delhi between May 9 and 16.
All of them are presently lodged in institutional quarantine at hotels in Saket, Dwarka, Dhaula Kuan and Aero City in New Delhi.
Besides these 19, three Himachalis arrived at Kerala from Maldives through INS Jalashava on May 10, while two returned through INS Magar on May 12.
Amongst others, five persons who arrived from Dubai at Amritsar airport on May 13 have been quarantined by the Punjab Government.
“We have prepared the standard operating operation (SOP) to facilitate the return of Himachalis stranded abroad, be it for education, tourism, treatment or any other purpose,” disclosed Sanjay Kundu, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister.
Kundu said the Ministry of External Affairs had been intimated and now all the stranded Himachalis who would have applied to the Indian Embassy in their respective countries would be facilitated on flights to return home.
However, the HP Government will concur in evacuation of its residents who land at Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar airports and not across India, Kundu pointed.
A total of 312 Himachalis, majority of them students, are stranded in Ukraine, besides other countries like US, China and many East European nations.
Efforts of the HP Government to facilitate their return could not fructify as there was no SOP in place, which specified how they would be picked up from the landing airport and then quarantined before returning home.
Kundu said as per the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines, these persons coming from abroad would have to stay in institutional quarantine for 14 days and even after return to their homes they would have to remain in quarantine for another 14 days, as a precautionary measure.
The five hotels that have been identified for lodging the foreign arrivals include Hotel Holiday Home (Shimla), Hotel Pinewood (Barog, Solan), Hotel Dhauldhar and Bhagsu Nag (Dharamsala) and Hotel Tea Bud (Palampur).
The staff here will be trained and thermal scanning of all foreign arrivals will be conducted. This will be a paid quarantine facility, which includes Rs 900 for three meals and 50 per cent subsidy on room tariff.