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Centre Taking All Measures for Safe Return of Indians Stranded in Italy: Karnataka Govt

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

The state government’s response came after Congress legislator Priyank Kharge said nearly 400 people from Karnataka were stranded in Italy and sought Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's intervention.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Tuesday said the Centre was making all efforts for the safe return of Indians, including those from the state, stranded in Italy that is severely hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The External Affairs Ministry is already on the job in this regard, deputy chief minister C N Ashwath Narayan said in the Legislative Assembly.

The Centre was taking all the required measures, he said.

Those Indians who were stranded in Milan airport were brought back after tests were conducted.

"For those at Rome tests and screening have been done and based on a report they (authorities) will take a decision on whether they need to be taken to isolation or not," he added.

Earlier, raising the issue, Congress legislator Priyank Kharge said in Italy, which has seen a large number of cases and is under shutdown, nearly 400 people from Karnataka were stranded there and sought Chief Minister's intervention by speaking to the External Affairs Ministry.

Stating that he had spoken to office bearers of a Kannada organisation in Italy, the former minister said, on March 14, 220 people were airlifted by the central government to the country, but there are still thousands of Indians there who had gone for jobs along with family besides several students.

Noting that there are about 400 Kannadigas (people from Karnataka) stranded in Italy without any facility and of them 150 are students, Kharge said unlike earlier, the Embassy is now seeking a coronavirus negative certificate, without which they are not allowed to board the flight.

As there is a fear of complete lockdown of air service, if they do not give the certificate by tomorrow, they will not be able to travel back to India soon.

The situation is worse as people are facing a shortage of money for basic facilities," he said, adding that the chief minister and state government will have to intervene immediately and speak to the union external affairs minister and try to provide help to those stranded.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation recently issued a circular stipulating that people "travelling from or having visited Italy or South Korea" and desirous of entering India "need to obtain certificates of having tested negative for COVID-19" from the designated laboratories authorised by the health authorities of those countries.

Stranded passengers are pointing this as the reason for them not being able to travel to India.