Two special Air India flights to Tripoli will operate from Saturday over the next 10 days and two Naval warships including amphibious vessel INS Jalashwa will also set sail to bring back thousands of Indian nationals stranded in strife-torn Libya.
Evacuation through sea will begin from Sunday with one of the chartered ships,Scotia Prince, with a capacity to accomodate 1,200 persons set to reach Benghazi port in Libya. An estimated 18,000 Indian nationals live in Libya.
With Libyan government granting landing permission for two Air India planes daily from Saturday till March 7, one aircraft each from Delhi and Mumbai will be deployed to ferry Indian nationals from Libya which is witnessing violent anti-government protests that has so far claimed several hundred lives.
Government is also dispatching two naval warships including INS Jalashwa on Saturday with a capacity to carry over a 1,000 passengers to evacuate its citizens.
The external affairs ministry also made it clear on Friday that "No payment or charge" of any kind is being levied by the government for the evacuation or assisted departure of any Indian national from Libya.
"Libyan government has given landing clearance for two Air India planes per day from tomorrow for evacuation of Indian nationals," external affairs minister S M Krishna said, adding, India has also requested the Libyan authorities to extend, if required, the time period for landing clearance.
The two Air India flights -- one from Delhi with a 280-290 passenger capacity and from Mumbai with about 350 passenger capacity -- will return by late Saturday night to their respective destinations, sources said.
Meanwhile, reacting to reports that some unscrupulous elements are asking for payments/handling charges/facilitation fee etc, for arranging evacuation of Indian nationals, through the Embassy of India in Libya, MEA issued a statement saying "these activities are completely illegal and individuals engaged in them should be immediately reported to the law enforcement authorities."