Welcoming seven returnees from Ukraine, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday said all efforts would be made to bring back the remaining students trapped in the war-hit nation.
The students attended a video call with the chief minister from New Delhi.
“We are so relieved that you are back. We are also working on the evacuation of other students as soon as possible,” Patnaik told them.
The chief minister also said that he has discussed the issue of bringing back the students stranded in Ukraine with the Union Home Minister and External Affairs Minister.
Patnaik gave an assurance that he will speak to the ministers concerned again.
The chief minister has also ordered officials to open a help desk at the Mumbai airport for the convenience of people returning from Ukraine.
He directed OTDC to drop Ukraine returned students, who arrived in Bhubaneswar, in their native areas.
The returnees requested the chief minister to take steps regarding other students in other parts of Ukraine, especially in the eastern city of Kharkiv, which has been facing the onslaught of the Russian military offensive. One of them said, “The students trapped in a bunker in the Kharkiv region are facing difficulties in arranging food, water. Some of them have fallen sick in freezing temperatures, few blankets, and dipping oxygen. There are also no transportation facilities available for them.” The students said that after getting information from the Odisha government on February 25, they had contacted the New Delhi-based resident commissioner on WhatsApp and apprised him of their situation.
The officer was always in touch with them online.
They said most of the students are being evacuated from the border of Ukraine and Romania. The students said they were taken to Bucharest by Indian Embassy officials.
“We boarded the Air India flight at night and landed in New Delhi. We were then taken to Odisha Bhavan in the national capital,” they said.
A fifth flight carrying 249 Indian nationals from Ukraine, under Operation Ganga, landed in New Delhi on Monday morning.
A majority of the evacuated students are from medical universities in west Ukraine.
The resident commissioner, who was present during the video conferencing, told reporters that seven students from the state have reached New Delhi and another 500 are still stuck in the strife-torn country.
He said, “We are in touch with the students. Our teams are working in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation.” A control room has been set up for reaching out to the students, the officer said.
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