The promise of a Spanish ‘hub’ to access flights to Asia remained elusive for thousands of Indians stranded in Europe on Tuesday.
Spain has offered to let Britain and other European countries use its airports as ‘hubs’ to get tens of thousands of passengers stranded by the volcanic ash cloud travelling again.
But Indians who have been stuck in Britain following last week’s volcanic eruption in Iceland complained that their requests for Schengen visas — allowing them to travel to 15 European countries — have been turned down by embassies in London despite the best efforts of the Indian High Commission.
More than half a million Indians travel to Britain every year but one diplomat told HT: “The Schengen countries have said very clearly that they will issue visas only to those Indians who have a humanitarian problem.”
Among Indians stranded in the British capital are member of parliament and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Dr Karan Singh, several business delegations, including one led by Reliance Mutual Fund head of equity Madhu Kela, students, tourists and people visiting friends and family.
Many Indians — including a group of 15 students — are reportedly running out of money and have been offered boarding and lodging by gurudwaras and a temple in Southall and Neasden, London suburbs with large Indian-origin populations.