Around 500 students from different parts of Odisha are now stranded in Ukraine, said Ravi Kant, Odisha’s Resident Commissioner in New Delhi on Monday.
Kant said already seven students from the State, who were stranded in different parts of Ukraine, have reached Delhi. Efforts are currently underway to collect information about students from Odisha as well as their evacuation plans.
“We are in touch with the students. Our teams are working in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation,” said the Resident Commissioner.
He further said all arrangements are being made as per the instructions of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. “We will be able to evacuate 25 percent students in the next couple of days. We have set up a control room and reaching out to the students. We are arranging food, transportation and addressing the issues faced by them,” he added.
Meanwhile, one of the stranded students, who reached Delhi, thanked the authorities for ensuring their safe return. “We had to cover nearly 200 km to reach the Romanian border. There was heavy rush at the border. The entire situation in Ukraine is very fluid. We also had to walk several kilometres to reach the border before boarding the flight,” said another student.
Devraj Barik, who is pursuing medicine in Ukraine, said that initially he was scheduled to board a fight to India on February 24.
“After reaching Kyiv, we learnt that our flight had been cancelled. It was really tough to cope up with the situation as there was also attack near the airport.”
Recounting the horror, Barik said from Kyiv he, along with other students, started their journey towards the Romanian border. As the traffic was too heavy, it took them nearly an hour to cover a distance of 1 km. It was only after 40 hours that they managed to reach their destination at Romania. After waiting for another 4 hours, they boarded a flight to Delhi. “We had to cover a distance of nearly 3 to 4 km before a bus from Romanian side took us to the airport,” Barik added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Odisha government has announced to bear all transportation costs to bring back the students and others from the State who have been stranded in war-torn Ukraine.