New Delhi: Nearly 500 Delhi students stranded at coaching hub Kota in Rajasthan due to the coronavirus lockdown returned to the national capital on Sunday morning in 40 private buses.
Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the students, who arrived at the Kashmere Gate Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), would be sent home in DTC buses after undergoing medical tests.
The tired students said they were feeling lonely in Kota, the coaching hub for engineering and medical aspirants, and relieved to be back home.
The hostel in which I lived, gradually emptied and only a few students were there. I longed for home and my family as I spent days in the hostel room amid lockdown restrictions. It was difficult to focus on anything amid this anxiety,” said Arun Kumar, a resident of Mohan Garden preparing for NEET in Kota.
Kumar said he was able to cope with other difficulties in Kota except “missing” his parents and was relieved to return home.
Earlier, the Delhi government had said that more than 800 students would be brought back to the city from Kota in 40 private buses.
However, the number came down to 480 as many names were repeated in the list prepared with the help of Kota administration, said Rajiv Singh, ADM (central), nodal officer for the evacuation operation of the Delhi government.
“A total of 480 students have been brought back from Kota. All the students are reportedly fine,” Singh said.
He said the needs of students were taken care of by teams of Delhi government officials who accompanied them during the journey from Kota and that Civil Defence volunteers were deployed to move their belongings which included study material and books.
Naved Alam from Janakpuri who was taking medical coaching in Kota said that he felt “deserted and overpowered by stress” almost all the students from other states had gone back home.
“I felt terrible and lonely as students from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states left. There was no problem of food but it became difficult to stay at the hostel and study,” Alam said.
Another student from south Delhi, who is preparing for engineering entrance test, said the lockdown has badly affected the exam preparations of students.
“My studies have been badly affected due to the lockdown as classes were disrupted since we were advised to stay at hostel. I have carried my books and now I will be able to focus on studies again and try to make up for the loss,” said the girl who did not wished to be named.
Meanwhile, the revenue department of the Delhi government had set up an enquiry counter at Kashmere Gate ISBT for coordinating work to ensure the safe return of the students.
Separate counters were set up for each of the 11 districts in Delhi. The students getting down from the buses were directed to their respective district desk where they were screened and medically examined for coronavirus.
The students were finally helped by civil defence volunteers to board designated DTC buses for each district to take them to their homes.
The students from Delhi preparing for competitive medical and engineering exams were stranded in Kota for weeks during the coronavirus-induced lockdown and appeals were made by their parents to the Delhi government to bring them back.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had assured that the students would be brought back.