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Pradeep Pattanayak

Kailash Bhushan Mohapatra and his wife Anupama have been spending sleepless nights these days.

The couple, living at Nabakalebar Road in Puri town, has been in a state of great anxiety and fear thinking about their son Satyashree who is stranded in war-torn Ukraine. This has been the case ever since the crisis between Ukraine and Russia started escalating.

Satyashree is a final year student at Kharkiv National Medical University in Kharkiv in Ukraine pursuing his courses in medicine. 

The television images of Russian fighter jets pounding Ukraine is only adding to their worry. Their days start with prayers for the safe returns of not only their son but all the students from Odisha and different states of India who have been precariously holed up in the conflict zone. 

The only solace for the worried parents is that their son is not alone in the dangerous foreign land. “My son is not alone in the trying times there. As per my knowledge, as many as 20,000 Indian students are stuck in Ukraine and their parents across India are spending sleepless nights like us,” said a worried Kailash, a medical doctor by profession. 

“At this point of time, we can’t do anything for their safe return. Therefore, we urge both the State and Central governments to take steps for their immediate evacuation,” appealed Kailash. 

Anupama burst into tears as she told about her son. “We are in regular touch with our son. He keeps us assuring that he is in safe hands. Besides praying to Lord Jagannath, I appeal to the State as well as the Central government to evacuate the stranded Indian students without losing any more time,” she said.

The mental condition of Ramesh Pal, a senior Odia journalist working in Delhi, is no different either. As the situation in Ukraine is getting bad to worse with each passing moment, Pal’s concerns for the safety of his only daughter, Soumya, is growing correspondingly. Soumya has been studying medicine In Ukraine since the past three years. 

“My daughter and all the other stranded students are scared. If at all they are evacuated, provisions should be made to pick from their hostels. This is because they may not have enough money to travel up to the airbase from where they will be flown into India,” said Pal.

The family members of Swetapadma Pradhan from Nehru Nagar of Titlagarh in Bolangir district are also a worried lot. Swetapama left for Ukraine four years ago to study medicine (MBBS).   
“We have been in touch with our daughter. Yesterday, she said she is safe. She is staying around 600-700 kilometres away from Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. But the news of Russia’s attacks is making us nevous,” said Swetapadma’s father. 

“They are facing a lot of problems. Arranging food has been the worst of all. They are even facing problems to withdraw money from ATMs as there are two-kilometre-long queues at the counters. The thought of them managing affairs after exhausting savings is making us more worried. We want our children to be evacuated as soon as possible. We request the State and Central governments to take steps in this regard,” he said. 

“All the students stranded there in Ukraine are under severe depression. Till some days ago, my daughter and her colleagues would live separately. However, they have now decided to live together in a single room as they are under constant fear. We wish the government takes immediate steps for their evacuation,” said Swetapadma’s mother. 

Sources said as many as three students from Titlagarh town are studying medicine in Ukraine. While one of them has somehow managed to come back to Odisha, the remaining two are still holed up in that country.They too, like the other stranded Indian students, hope that the government will take steps for their safe return to the country.

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