Patna, India, March 1, 2022 -- With the evacuation of Indian students trapped in Ukraine picking up speed, the Bihar government has started helplines for boys and girls hailing from the state who had gone to the war-torn country for pursuing higher education and are now anxious to make an exit in the wake of the military crisis.
The helpline numbers issued by the State Disaster Management Department are 0612-2294204, 0612-1070 and 7070290170. An email-id has also been issued by the government — email@example.com. The Bihar Bhavan in New Delhi has also issued a helpline number and email-id — 7217788114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notably, the Ministry of External Affairs has issued an advisory, urging Indian nationals in Ukraine to avoid thronging border checkpoints "without prior information" because of obvious security risks.
Airlifting of Indians, mostly medical students for whom Ukraine has been a much-preferred destination is underway and while the Centre has said they will not be charged for their travel back home, the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has said it will bear the expenses of the remaining part of the commute, of those hailing from the state.
Parents await the return of their children with bated breath even as more and more students are coming up with tales of their travails on social media.
"Aniket is our only child. He had travelled to Dnipro in December for higher studies with hopes of a bright future. Little did we know that barely a few months later, we will be worrying for his life," said Omkar, a resident of Navin Nagar in Nawada district.
The 21 years old was, in any case, scheduled to come home next week on a holiday but the current situation has left the family in disarray.
"He has been speaking to me, his mother and sister over the phone, assuring us that he will board the plane scheduled to land on the Indian soil on March 6. But we now want him to leave immediately. We are wary that if the situation worsens, air travel may get suspended and our child may get trapped in the troubled region for an indefinite period of time," rues Omkar, who teaches at a local primary school.
His concerns are shared by the family members of Shivam Kumar, who hails from adjoining Qadirganj locality and happens to be a roommate of Aniket. The hapless family members have appealed to the local administration, the state government and the Centre to ensure early return of their wards.
In Raxaul in East Champaran, college professor Vijay Pandey’s son Chinmay and former ward commissioner Yogendra Prasad’s son Chandan are among a group of about 20 students from Bihar who have taken shelter in a bunker.
The harried fathers hope to be, soon, lucky like Munna Giri, a resident of Motihari, the district headquarters, whose son Ashish was among those who boarded the Mumbai-bound flight from Bucharest.
"I am relieved and I pray that all children reunite with their parents as soon as possible. Social media is full of video clips prepared by boys and girls living in Ukraine. It is distressing to see them living in cramped basements with no amenities. And it is scary to hear the sounds of gunshots and explosions in the background," said Giri.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2022
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