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IANS

The Odisha government has said it is working hard for safe return of students and other people stuck in war-hit Ukraine, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday.

While seven students have landed in New Delhi from Ukraine, about another 500 students from Odisha are still stuck there, officials said.

The Chief Minister interacted with the Ukraine returnees through video conferencing. Welcoming the students on their return to India, Patnaik said, "We are so relieved. We are also working for the safe return of other students from Odisha as soon as possible."

The students briefed the CM about how they were evacuated from the war torn country and requested him for the safe evacuation of other Odia students stuck in very difficult situation in the Kharkiv region.

"Most of the Odia students are stuck in the Kharkiv area, which has now turned into a war zone," a returnee told the Chief Minister.

"We are working hard to see that they return to India as soon as possible. I have already spoken to the Home Minister and the External Affairs Minister to help us as soon as possible. I will speak to them again," assured Patnaik.

The Chief Minister has directed concerned officials to open a help desk in Mumbai. He also asked to make arrangements for transportation of the returned Odisha students from Bhubaneswar to their native place through government-run OSRTC buses.

Speaking to media persons from Odisha in New Delhi, Resident Commissioner and nodal officer appointed for this purpose, Ravi Kant said seven students from the state, who were stranded in different parts of Ukraine, have reached Delhi.

Stating that about 500 students are still stuck there, Kant said, "Our 24/7 control room is in operation. We are contacting all who are in distress, collecting their feedback and addressing their issues related to food and transportation."

"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 for evacuation of the students," he said.

The nodal officer said he is hopeful that at least 25 per cent of the Odia people stranded in Ukraine will return to India in a couple of days.

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