Myanmar gears up for repatriation push

Myanmar gears up for repatriation push

Myanmar is preparing to help citizens stuck in Thailand to return home while a large group of Indians have flown home on a special flight.

The Interior Ministry has permitted stranded Myanmar workers to return home via the Thai–Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Tak's Mae Sot district.

Chatchai Promlert, permanent secretary for the Interior Ministry, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration had agreed to open the bridge, although other crossings remain closed for now.

Mr Chatchai said those who wish to cross the border must show a letter of guarantee issued by the Myanmar embassy in Thailand, or one of the Myanmar labour offices in Chiang Mai or Ranong.

The travellers are required to present either the physical letter itself or show a copy of it on their mobile phone to border security personnel.

Travellers are also required to present themselves at the border checkpoint before 3pm each day, said Mr Chatchai, who added that a coach service runs to the border from Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal in Bangkok every evening

Tak provincial governor Ansit Samphantharat also told media that about 27,000 Myanmar workers in Bangkok and adjacent areas have submitted requests to the Myanmar embassy in Thailand asking for permission to return to their country.

The Transport Co will provide 10 coaches which will cover the Bangkok-Mae Sot route to transport Myanmar workers from Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal to the Mae Sot border checkpoint, stopping only at Nakhon Sawan Bus Terminal.

The special service began yesterday, running five coaches at a time from the capital at 10pm and 11pm.

The service can accommodate 210 returnees each day and will run until June 20 or until the order allowing border crossings is changed.

The security affairs section of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters has also announced that it will issue night-time curfew passes for officials and buses making the trips.

Earlier this week, the Indian government announced its Vande Bharat mission, the largest evacuation of Indian nationals abroad ever.

In Thailand, more than 1,600 Indians were repatriated on special Air India flights arranged by the government.

These are predominantly Indian nationals who were stranded in Thailand due to the closure of international air travel in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Although scattered across different parts of Thailand including Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, besides Bangkok, the embassy arranged for special buses to bring the stranded Indian nationals to the capital.

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