Stranded in Bihar’s Supaul district during the Covid-19 lockdown while her son was undergoing a surgery in Delhi, an American woman sent an SOS through a Tourism Ministry portal, called strandedinindia.com.
The ministry immediately swung into action. Phone lines were worked at various levels, and the required inter-ministerial, inter-departmental and state-Centre coordination was secured. Finally, the U.S. citizen was given a special transit-permit and the means of travel to reach New Delhi. She expressed her profound gratitude for the tourism ministry’s efforts.
Two Costa Rican citizens stranded in Chennai after a medical surgery were getting nervous because of the lockdown when the ministry established coordination with the state government and the Costa Rican Embassy to ensure they would have a safe stay in Tamil Nadu.
An Australian tourist stranded in Ahmedabad with his family was panicking, as he’d run out of the epilepsy medicines prescribed by doctors back home. The tourism ministry portal connected him to the office of the district collector. He was provided with sufficient medication, local transport and a safe stay. The family is comfortable now.
These three examples are from the first six days after the tourism ministry launched (on March 31) the strandedinindia.com portal to identify and help tourists stranded in several parts of India during the lockdown.
The portal has emerged as a crucial helping hand for such tourists. According to a ministry release on Friday, as many as 1,194 tourists have received assistance through the portal as of April 9. In addition, the ministry’s regular toll-free helpline has also received 779 calls between March and April 9, according to the communiqué.