The Bangladeshis stranded in India following the nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak will have to wait till the lockdown is relaxed to return, said officials concerned today.
Earlier this week, the Bangladesh foreign ministry had said it was weighing options of chartering a flight to repatriate the stranded Bangladeshis, mostly in Chennai and Bengaluru.
However, that is not possible now because many of those who had wanted to return home are not agreeing to the fare that Biman Bangladesh Airlines is asking, a foreign ministry official told The Daily Star requesting anonymity.
On Thursday, the Indian government decided to allow transit arrangements for foreign nationals who are stranded in the country during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
"Indian Ministry of External Affairs is helping. There won't be a problem for those stranded there. The Bangladesh government took measures for money transfer to them from their relatives so that they don't have problems for house rent, food and visas," he said.
Of the 2,500 stranded Bangladeshis, more than 1,000 are students, mostly in Punjab, Hyderabad and Delhi. They are staying in hostels and have no problem, the official also said.
India began a 21-day nationwide lockdown from March 25 to stop the spread of coronavirus. No foreign national or Indian expatriates can fly to India during this time. Domestic flights and interstate transport systems have also been suspended. The Indian government is also discouraging international travel from India.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry in a statement said that the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi is maintaining contact with the stranded Bangladeshis via telephone, hotline and ensuring their welfare.
"Our missions in India are taking care of them if they face financial or other problems," the statement said.
"The government is committed to bring back the stranded Bangladeshis in India and other countries once the situation normalises," it added.