Libyan crisis: India seeks aircraft landing rights in Sehba

February 28th, 2011 - 10:29 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Feb 28 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Monday said that India had sought aircraft landing rights in Sehba in interior Libya, where over 1000 Indians have been stranded.

Talking to reporters here, Rao said the authorities have to rely only on evacuation by aircraft in Libya as the country does not have a rail network and travel by road is not considered to be safe.

“They are unable to travel since there are no trains in Libya and travel by road is apparently not safe. Therefore, our ambassador in Tripoli has sought permission to land our aircraft at Sehba,” she added.

She further said that she is aware that people were finding it difficult to reach the port city of Benghazi due to security conditions in Libya and government is also in touch with private companies who have a large number of Indian nationals working for them.

Giving an update on ‘Operation Safe Homecoming,’ Rao said the government has so far brought back nearly 1,000 citizens from the riot-torn nation.

Earlier, a third batch of 67 Indians arrived in Mumbai from Libya this morning. So far, over 550 Indians have returned from strife-torn Libya on special Air India flights, but thousands continue to remain stranded.

The first batch of 291 people from Tripoli landed in Delhi late on Saturday night at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI). The second flight with 237 Indians landed at the IGI airport early on Sunday.

Food as well as telephone facilities have been arranged for them so that they can contact their families.

Counters have also been set up to arrange rail and air tickets for them while officials from at least 12 states’ resident commissioner’s offices will be present for any further help they may need.

The government has arranged for two flights to be dispatched daily till March 7 to bring back the stranded Indians from Libya, where a revolt against the Muammar Gaddafi Government has turned violent and claimed over 1,000 lives so far.

In addition to this, three specially equipped naval vessels are scheduled to reach there in ten days. Passenger ship M V Scotia Prince, which was on its way to Toothukudi from Greece had been diverted to Libya to rescue the 18000 Indians. (ANI)

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