The Indian Navy's amphibious warship INS Jalashwa has begun full-fledged preparations to bring back some 750 Indian nationals onboard on Friday, 8 May. They are being brought back home to Kochi under ‘Operation Samudra Setu.’
Passengers underwent necessary procedures at Velana Airport, as per regular updates posted by the Indian High Commission in the Maldives on its official Twitter page.
As part of the government's repatriation plan, INS Jalashwa, deployed off the coast of Mumbai, along with INS Magar, left for the Maldives on Monday night, while INS Shardul diverted to Dubai.
US $40 to Be Charged as Fee
However, the Indian Navy for the first time is said to charge the Indian nationals who are being repatriated by the Navy ships, according to ANI.
On Thursday, 7 May, the Indian High Commission in Male told the stranded Indians that they will have to pay $40 – about Rs 3,028 – as “repatriation services charge” for repatriation by INS Jalashwa on Friday, 8 May.
The High Commission had said, "This amount would be collected at the service free collection counter after completion of the immigration process at the Velana International Airport."
Meanwhile, Indian Navy also tweeted that beginning of phase 1 of Operation Samudra Setu.
The Indian High Commission also posted photos of the Custom officials, covered in PPE overalls, stating, “This massive evacuation effort would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Maldives Customs Service officials.”
The Navy will be bringing back around 2,000 nationals from the Maldives from Friday.
"The evacuation operation will be conducted in two phases, first to Kochi (Kerala) and second to Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu). It will be a big relief for Indians stranded here," Indian envoy to the Maldives, Sanjay Sudhir said on Thursday.
(With inputs from ANI)