The Centre has informed the Madras high court that 58 more Vande Bharat Mission flights are scheduled to land in Tamil Nadu returning stranded residents of the state from across the globe due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
"Of them, 41 will land in Chennai, 11 in Trichy, 4 in Coimbatore, and 2 in Madurai," additional solicitor general of India R Sankaranarayanan said.
Recording it, a division bench of Justice MM Sundresh and Justice R Hemalatha cited a report published in an English daily.
According to the article, three flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi were reported to have landed in Chennai empty as there were no passengers to take the flights.
To this, senior advocate P Wilson representing DMK said that travel agents are booking the whole flight and later selling the tickets at high rates.
Mr Wilson further submitted that only because of court intervention more Vande Bharat Mission flights were provided which helped all the stranded passengers to reach their destinations till today.
He submitted that even going by the Union governments reports filed of 149 flights required to bring 25,939 stranded passengers, only 58 flights have been provided.
More flights are required to bring back all stranded residents of the state, he added.
As Mr Sankaranarayanan submitted a complete schedule of such flights that can be provided on July 30, the bench adjourned the hearing.
The issue pertains to a plea moved by DMK alleging that the state government was refusing clearance to land such mission flights in the international airports in the state.
During the course of hearing, the state submitted that it has no objection to receiving such flights bringing back stranded Tamils from various countries due to the lockdown.