Amid uncertainty of when they’ll board a flight back home from war-torn Ukraine, Indian students, including those from Chandigarh tricity area, are braving all odds to somehow reach the borders for evacuation.
Over the past 48 hours, several students hailing from the tricity had to manage transportation arrangements on their own as situation remained critical in Kharkiv that has been under fierce attack by Russian forces.
Preet Kaur, a student from Zirakpur, had to spend days in an underground shelter in Kharkiv. “On Monday, we got some glimmer of hope as I, along with some 60 students, left Kharkiv for the Hungary border on a special train,” she said.
Chandigarh resident Ranjit Singh, whose son also managed to get on a train, said his son had been waiting for a way to leave the city for days. “When trains started, he and his peers pushed their juniors to leave first and eventually found seats for themselves on another train. The train will take them to Lviv, near the Poland border, from where they will try to reach the Hungary border for evacuation.”
Charvi, a first-year MBBS student at Poltava State Medical University, located 142km from Kharkiv, said around 40 students from India were on board a bus from Poltava city to a town near the Hungary border. “We managed to arrange a bus with the help of senior students. Once there, we will board a train to the Hungary border and join the Indians awaiting evacuation via Budapest,” said Charvi, accompanied by her collegemate, Sameeksha Jaitly, also from Chandigarh.
Malika Kohli, a Sector 22 resident, whose daughter studies in Lviv, said her daughter, along with seven other students, managed to book two cabs to attempt to reach the Slovakia border: “I am praying that they reach safely and cross the border with Indian government’s help.”
Meanwhile, police personnel from Chandigarh visited families of residents stranded in Ukraine and assured them every possible support. “The higher authorities are in constant touch with the Union ministry of external affairs and taking timely information about the current situation. A Chandigarh help desk has also been set up at IGI Airport, New Delhi. Three more residents of Chandigarh arrived from Ukraine on Tuesday,” the administration said.
In Mohali, the district administration reached out to the worried families. The administrations of both areas have released helpline numbers. Chandigarh has launched the helpline number 112 and Mohali two numbers – 0172-221-9505 and 0172-221-9506. All numbers are functional 24X7.