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New Delhi, April 8, 2020
As many as 769 foreign tourists all over the country had registered on the ‘Stranded in India’ portal in the first five days of after its launch, seeking assistance and help in various forms, the Ministry of Tourism said.
The Ministry launched the portal www.strandedinindia.com on March 31, with a view to identify, assist and facilitate foreign tourists who were stranded in various parts of India due to the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Such tourists could log on to the portal, provide some basic contact information and narrate the nature of issues being faced by them, if any. In the first 5 days of its operation, 769 foreign tourists from all over the country registered on the portal, an official press release said.
All the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations have identified a Nodal Officer for assisting such foreign tourists. The five Regional Offices of the Ministry of Tourism are constantly coordinating with the Nodal Officers regarding the Support Requests logged on the portal, for facilitating ground support to the foreigners, if so required.
The Tourism Ministry Regional Offices were also coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration and FRROs regarding Visa issues being faced by stranded foreigners. Requests for movement within the country/ state and for transfer to the home country of such tourists were also being coordinated with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and with the respective Embassy/ High Commission/ Consulate.
The utility and efficacy of the portal has led to stranded foreign tourists being contacted over e-mails, telephones and also in person depending on the nature of support required by them.
They have been connected with the relevant foreign office of their home country in India and provided various information updates on flights to their home countries. Wherever required, they have been provided medical assistance, food and accommodation.
A woman, who is an American citizen, was stranded in Supaul district of Bihar amid the lockdown, while her son was undergoing surgery at Delhi. The portal facilitated the required inter-ministerial, inter-departmental and State-Centre coordination and secured her a special transit-permit to travel to Delhi. She has safely reached her destination and expressed her gratitude for the efforts put in by all the concerned agencies.
Two Costa Rican citizens, who had come to Chennai for a surgery (medical tourism), were stranded at Chennai after the surgery. Close coordination with the State Government, the Costa Rican Embassy and the hotel in which the tourists were staying helped in soothing the frayed and panicked nerves of the tourists. They are now safe and well.
An Australian tourist with his family was stranded in Ahmedabad. The tourist has epilepsy and ran out of medication prescribed by Australian doctors due to the lockdown. The portal led to the tourist being reached through the office of the District Collector. He was provided with sufficient medication and was also offered food and local transportation. Now, they are comfortable and safe.
These are just a few of the many occasions in which the portal helped many foreigners in getting critical assistance at a crucial time. In the coming days, the portal will continue to serve its purpose and the Government are committed to the cause of ensuring the comfort and wellbeing of our foreign guests during their stay in India.