Thursday, February 03, 2011

Indian Government's so-called Rescue Plan - Cairo 2011

The situation in Egypt was beyond anyone's expectation and control. Given the circumstances, countries around the world - US, China, Turkey or Libya came forward and evacuated their citizens in record time. The US sent military planes to get people to closer places like Istanbul and Athens (with reimbursement for their current tickets/itineraries), Turkey sent 3 planes to evacuate people, so did other countries. China, Germany and France sent officers to all terminals to get citizens together and out on time. The key fact here is that all of these were done for FREE. Along with this, Governments across the world sent consulate officers to pressurise the state carrier of Egypt, Egypt Air, to make sure they were sending passengers with valid tickets within a limited time period.

The Indian Embassy played its role by setting up a control centre - the only difference being that it was primarily manned by the Indian Citizens group in Egypt, rather than government officials. The Govt of India did not bother pushing Egypt Air to send at least a few flights to India, as a small part of their schedule. Quoting an Egypt Air official at Cairo on Monday, 31 Jan 2011, "If your own government is not interested in talking to us, why should we push ourselves".
The Embassy and Indian citizen base in Egypt pushed the Indian Govt to send planes to help Indians get out, but not without direct pressure from Tata Steel, because of a conference in Egypt with over 150 people from Tata Steel stuck in the crisis.

The worst was still to come - the Indian Government charged INR 45000 to each Indian passenger to provide the so-called "rescue" to reach back home. This was 4 times the standard one way fare from Cairo to Mumbai, and in a crisis situation like this, an unacceptable one. The way it was projected to the media and people across the country made it sound like a humanitarian act, but was, unfortunately, the exact opposite.

The government took sheer advantage of Indians, making them pay through their nose. When a certain channel raised this issue, our dear MEA, Mr S M Krishna, pointed out that none of the countries took the citizens out for free - a blatant lie. Moreover, he started comparing it with the rates available through travel sites on various airlines, through dynamic pricing. Probably he forgot that it was with Indian public money that the Indian state carrier was bailed out with (refer: for their otherwise inefficiency and political privileges.

Is this what we can expect as ordinary Indian citizens, who pay honest taxes and still get situations like this in return? And to remind us, there are still some Indians who remain stuck in Cairo, as on date, because they cannot afford a USD 1000 ticket to their way home in a crisis, and because their government does not believe in helping them, with their own tax money.

Jai Hind, is it??

2 Responses to “Indian Government's so-called Rescue Plan - Cairo 2011”

Sanjay R Bhagat said...

This is shocking.. !!! Money minting in name of "rescue".. Three cheers to Indian Govt for a daylight robbery..

sumitro said...

Shameful state of affairs - SMK should have been stuck there and we would have had a fleet of jets landing there

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