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Over 56,000 Indian expats leave Oman due to Covid-19

More than 56,000 Indian expats have had to leave Oman, after residing in the Gulf country for years, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which led to many being unemployed, a media report said.

Anuj Swarup, Second Secretary at Indian Embassy in Oman, told Gulf News yesterday, that the Vande Bharat Mission from the Gulf country that started on May 9 has operated a total 105 flights till date, enabling more than 18,000 Indian nationals to return to India.

"In addition to this, more than 38,000 Indian nationals have travelled to India on 216 charter flights operated by social organisations and various other organisations.

"As we enter the Phase 5 of Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), a total 19 flights have been scheduled in the first half of August to various Indian states. Flights have been scheduled as per the registrations received by the Embassy and we will continue to facilitate travel of Indian nationals."

Kerala native, Faizal Osman, who had worked at a financial institution in Muscat and received a notice terminating his services in April, said: "The announcement of the flights came at an opportune time when we had just received our due payments. As they say Eid heralds good tidings, and I hope we are able to start afresh in India."

Many like Faizal, who had lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been without a salary since April.

Vijay Menon, another Indian from Kerala, had sent his family through one of the earlier VBM flights, while he stayed back to sell his car and the other household stuff that he had accumulated over the past two decades.

"There were a lot of things like furniture, electronic gadgets and clothes that we had bought over our stay in Muscat, over the past 20 years. Even after packing most of it, there still was stuff for one more container," Vijay told Gulf News.

According to official data, Indians constitute almost 20 per cent of Oman's total population, as they are the largest expatriate community in the country.

There are 448,000 Indian migrant workers in Oman..