Skip to main content

UK media's sensational claim: Unidentified 'rich, famous' flee India's 2nd Covid wave

Peony Hirwani reports in "The Independent" that India’s rich and famous are fleeing the country on private jets as airfares soar amid Covid crisis, adding, VIPs have reportedly spent more than £100,000 chartering nine-hour private jet flights to London, amid a rush for regular tickets out of crisis-hit country.
Interestingly, however, the UK-based media refuses to identify who all are these "rich and famous" who have allgedly run away amidst the worst second wave. Wonder if anyone identified these rich and famous -- perhaps "Independent" should do it. Ironically, the Times of India did a similar story under the headline "India's super-rich beat deadline, land in UK in private jets".  
Read the "Independent" story:
***
India’s wealthiest are reportedly paying tens of thousands of pounds chartering private jets to flee the country amidst a devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With countries around the world banning flights from India amid concerns about the new coronavirus variants believed to be fuelling the current outbreak, the price of tickets to destinations still accepting travellers has skyrocketed.
Last week, a rush to reach the UK before it added India to a list of “red list” countries requiring hotel quarantine saw at least eight private jets chartered to make the nine-hour journey, according to The Times. It said the planes were believed to have cost up to £100,000 each to charter, and that one arrived in Britain just 45 minutes before the red list deadline.
Earlier this month,The Independent searched ticket options on providers including Air India, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Vistara from different Indian cities to UK airports, but no availability showed for any route.
“We are restricted by the number of flights we’re allowed to operate between the UK and India so unfortunately we’re unable to increase our flight or seat capacity,” said a spokesman from Virgin Atlantic, when asked about responding to the extraordinary demand.
The UK announced it was adding India to its travel “red list” on 19 April, giving four days’ notice. After 4am on 23 April, only UK residents and citizens would be able to make the journey from India, and would be subject to hotel quarantine.
It came after health secretary Matt Hancock said 103 Covid cases of the Indian variant had been found in the UK, largely related to travel, and just after Boris Johnson cancelled a visit to India.
Other countries that have limited travel from India include France, the UAE, Indonesia, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, the Maldives and Australia.
According to the Economic Times, a spokesman from the private Air Charter Service in India said on Saturday that the amount of interest in international flights was “absolutely crazy.”
“We have 12 flights going to Dubai tomorrow and each flight is completely full,” he said.
“I’ve fielded almost 80 enquiries for flying to Dubai today alone,” a spokesman for Enthral Aviation told AFP.
“We have requested more aircraft from abroad to meet the demand. It costs £27,337 to hire a 13-seater jet from Mumbai to Dubai and £22,301 to hire a six-seater aircraft.”
On Monday morning, India reported more than 352,000 new Covid cases, setting another record for daily infections for the fifth day in a row.
Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Disha Patani and Tiger Shroff were among those seen relaxing in the Maldives in the past week, and according to the Hindustan Times the four were seen arriving back in Mumbai on Sunday.
One user wrote about Shroff on Twitter: “He is asking us (common people) to understand the situation and stay at home while he is vacationing in Maldives!!”

Comments

TRENDING

When phone tapping rumours were afloat in Gujarat among BJP leaders, IAS babus

Gordhan Zadaphia By Rajiv Shah While alerts were coming in over the last few days about a series of articles on how phones of “journalists, ministers, activists” may have been used to spy on them with the help of an Israeli project, Pegasus, finally, when I got up on Monday morning, I saw a Times of India story quoting (imagine!, we never used to do this, did just a followup in case we missed a story) the Wire, a top news portal on this providing some details, along with government reaction.

Gandhi Ashram 'redevelopment': Whither well-known Gandhi experts, Gandhians?

Sudarshan Iyengar, Ramchandra Guha Rehabilitating about 200 families, mostly Dalits, living in the Gandhi Ashram premises by offering them Rs 60 lakh in order to implement a Rs 1,200 crore project called Gandhi Ashram Memorial and Precinct Development Project reportedly to bring the Ashram into its "original shape" as Gandhi established appears to me strange, to say the least.

Gandhi Ashram eviction: Finally historian Guha speaks out; but ageing trustees are silent

By Rajiv Shah Finally, at least one expert, top historian Ramachandra Guha, has spoken out on eviction of 200 families living in the Gandhi Ashram premises. Last week, I received an email alert from a veteran academic, Ashoke Chatterjee, former director, National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, which happens to be one of the most prestigious academic institutes of India based, informing me about it. NID is one of the several top institutes founded when Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s Prime Minister.

Will Vaishnaw, close to Modi since Vajpayee days, ever be turnaround man for Railways?

By Rajiv Shah Ever since Ashwini Vaishnaw was appointed as railway minister, I was curious to know who he was and how did he come closer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, most important, when. Hence, I decided to talk with some Sachivalaya officials in Gujarat in order to find out if there was, if any, Gujarat (or Modi) connection.

Non-entity 6 yrs ago, Indian state turned Fr Stan into world class human rights defender

Jharkhand's Adivasi women  By Rajiv Shah A lot is being written on Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest who is known more for his work for tribal rights in Jharkhand. His death at the age of 84, even when he was an under trial prisoner for his alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence three years go, has, not without reason, evoked sharp reaction, not just in India but across the world.

Home Ministry data vs Health Ministry data! Gujarat's poor sex ratio at birth data

Home minister Amit Shah, health minister Harsh Vardhan By Rajiv Shah Don’t India’s top ministries – of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and of Home Affairs (MoHA) – tally data before releasing them? It would seem so… A few days back, I did a story in Counterview , based on an MoHA report, stating that Gujarat has the lowest sex rate at birth (SRB) at 901 girls as against 1000 births, followed by Assam (903), Madhya Pradesh (905) and Jammu & Kashmir (909), raising valid apprehensions that widescale female foeticide may be prevalent in India’s “model” State.

July 1: Observing communal harmony day in Ahmedabad, a highly segregated city

Activists at Vasant-Rajab memorial on July 1 By Rajiv Shah Celebrated as Communal Harmony Day in Ahmedabad, July 1, 2021 is remembered for the sacrifice of two friends, Vasant Rao Hegishte and Rajab Ali Lakhani, laid down their lives for the cause of communal harmony on the July 1, 1946 in the city. A memorial stands in their memory in Khandni Sheri, Jamalpur, Ahmedabad.

Gujarat cadre woman IAS official who objected to Modi remark on sleeveless blouse

By Rajiv Shah Two days back, a veteran journalist based in Patna, previously with the Times of India, Ahmedabad, phoned me up to inform me that he had a sad news: Swarnakanta Varma, a retired Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat, who was acting chief secretary on the dastardly Godhra train burning day, February 27, 2002, which triggered one of the worst ever communal riots in Gujarat, has passed away due to Covid. “I have been informed about this from a friend in Jaipur, where she breathed her last”, Law Kumar Mishra said.

Positive side of Vaishnaw? Ex-official insists: Give him loss making BSNL, Air India

By Rajiv Shah A senior chartered accountant, whom I have known intimately (I am not naming him, as I don’t have his permission), has forwarded me an Indian Express (IE) story (July 18), “Ashwini Vaishnaw: The man in the chair”, which, he says, “contradicts” the blog (July 17), "Will Vaishnaw, close to Modi since Vajpayee days, ever be turnaround man for Railways?" I had written a day earlier and forwarded it to many of my friends.

Why this marriage of son of non-IAS babu, earlier in Gujarat, became an event in Kerala

AK Vijay Kumar By Rajiv Shah Many say, marriages are made in heaven. However, as a confirmed non-believer, I don’t seem to think that way. But if one were to believe that marriages are indeed made in heaven, would the guests who are invited in some of the high-profile weddings also decide the destiny of the newly weds? I don’t know. Yet, the fact is, the competition to invite guests at such weddings is something I noticed after I came to Ahmedabad in 1993 to join as assistant editor of the Times of India.