In Lok Sabha, Scindia hits out at Operation Ganga critics: India stayed till end
The evacuation mission was started on February 22 with the aim to evacuate stranded Indians from the east European nation after Russia's invasion on February 24.
Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Parliament on Tuesday that India has evacuated 23,000 students safely under the 'Operation Ganga'. “IndiGo operated 35 flights, Air India operated 14, Go First operated six flights, Air Asia operated three, Air India Express nine, SpiceJet nine and four C-17 Globemasters of IAF did sorties and evacuated 23,000 students safely,” Scindia said.
“Several countries had shut down their missions (in Ukraine). They left the country. It is only India that had its mission functioning until the last Indian citizen was brought back,” Scindia added.
Boasting about the government's achievement, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the 'Operation Ganga' will rank as one of the most well-coordinated and successful humanitarian evacuation missions undertaken by any country, anywhere."
The evacuation mission was started on February 22 with the aim to evacuate stranded Indians from the east European nation after Russia's invasion on February 24. The first evacuation flight from Bucharest reached New Delhi with 249 nationals on February 27. The Operation Ganga went on till March 11. India also rescued several others, including citizens from Bangladesh and Nepal.
Scindia also told MPs that he was in Madhya Pradesh when the government decided to send him to Romania. “Hardeep Puri was in Guwahati, I was in MP. We received a phone call at 11.30 pm calling us back to Delhi, to be sent to Romania and Moldova,” he said.
Scindia was one of the four cabinet ministers who were deputed to the neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation efforts on the ground, the other ministers being, Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri and VK Singh.
Amid Ukraine and Russia crisis, the Indian government had established numerous 24X7 control centres to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals through border crossing points with Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Slovak Republic. A dedicated Twitter account '@OpGanga' was also set up to assist Operation Ganga.