More than 32,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates, who wish to return home amidst the coronavirus lockdown, have registered with the Indian missions here on day one of the opening of the online registration process, according to a media report.
On Wednesday night, the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi announced the details of data collection through the website of the Indian consulate in Dubai.
Within minutes, the site faced technical issues, prompting the missions to delete the tweet about it and repost it hours later.
In a tweet posted in the wee hours of Thursday, the Indian consulate asked applicants “to bear with it if it takes time for the page to load due to high traffic.”
“As of 5pm on Thursday, we received more than 32,000 registrations,” Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul told the Gulf News.
Vipul said the technical issues took place because of the huge rush of people trying to access the webpage on the consulate's site for registration.
Though the mission is yet to analyse the data to know the “compelling reasons” for the applicants to travel home, Vipul said the applications comprise various emergency cases including that of pregnant women.
“We understand that people want to go home for various reasons. People should be ready for travel by keeping in mind the overall restrictions on travel given the pandemic situation. Those who wish to go urgently should keep trying to register on the website in the next few days,” he said.
He said the registration would be open for some days and the data collected by the Indian missions in various countries would be provided to Indian states for making preparations for their travel.
The Consul General reiterated that the registration in the data bank does not guarantee a seat on the initial flights that would be arranged to repatriate the most deserving categories of people.
“Workers in acute distress, medical cases, pregnant women, the elderly and the group of Indians stranded in Dubai Airport,” are likely to get first priority when the government resumes services for repatriation, he said.
Since there is no guidance from the Indian government on the conditions for travelling, he said, it is not yet clear how the COVID-19 status of an applicant would impact the journey.
When asked about media reports that said 500 Air India flights and three warships of the Indian Navy are on standby for evacuating stranded Indians abroad, Vipul said he had no knowledge about warships being readied for the process.
“I am sure Air India will be involved. I have no information about the warships,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government of Kerala on Thursday said the total number of registrations it received from Malayalis living in 201 countries has reached 3,53,468.
The Consul General urged Keralites in the UAE, who have already registered with Norka (The Non Resident Keralites Affairs), to also register with the missions since it would help the central government to make arrangements for flight operations.