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500 Indians return from quake-hit Japan
New Delhi, Mar 17 (IANS):
Published on 18 Mar. 2011 12:09 AM IST
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It was a happy homecoming for nearly 500 Indians who landed at the Delhi airport Wednesday night from quake-hit Japan, even as that country continues its battle to contain radiation leak from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Many passengers had relatives waiting for them outside Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here. There were scenes of relieved passengers hugging and kissing their loved ones and sharing tales of their surviving the March 11 earthquake that triggered a devastating tsunami.
“The earthquake was so powerful that my whole kitchen came down. I was so scared that I didn’t know whether I would be able to come out safely,” said a relieved Nidhi Jain. Jain, who came back with her two children, said she was happy to be back in India.
“I have never seen this before... everything in my house was falling and it was a really bad experience,” said another passenger.
Air India is operating a daily jumbo flight between New Delhi and Tokyo March 16-19 to bring back countrymen.
Many passengers said they were glued to their TV sets to get up-to-date information on the situation in the island nation.
“People are watching news keenly and the Japanese government is taking all necessary steps to contain the effect,” said Nitin Chopra.
Commending the arrangements in Japan, Ridhi Singla said: “If people want to come back, there are flights coming every day. I came because I am pregnant. For normal reason, I wouldn’t have come.”
Some passengers, however, said that there was no need to rush back.
“I did not want to come back but my parents were really worried so I came back. There is no need to rush back and some of my friends are still there working and studying,” said 20-year-old Supriya Khatri, who studies in Tokyo.
Akangsha, Supriya’s sister, said: “We were tense when she was not picking up calls. It is better to be here whether something is wrong or not.”
So far, the airline has brought back around 900 passengers from Japan. Besides the flight to Tokyo, Air India operates three flights a week to Osaka which will continue as per schedule.
In view of the natural disaster which struck the country, the airline has also decided to waive all penalties for re-booking, cancellations and refunds on all types of tickets for travel to and from Japan up to March 31.

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