Published: 19th May 2020
After almost selling his wheelchair, Indian student in UK finds ticket back home
A Warwick University graduate, Ankit was previously told that the repatriation flight will not permit wheelchairs, owing to social distancing
Ankit Agrawal was on the verge of selling his wheelchair the last time we spoke to him. A University of Warwick graduate, he had then said that the Air India flight which would repatriate Indians from the UK will not allow a wheelchair, owing to the social distancing norms. "(I am) selling it to raise money to buy tickets on an evacuation flight to India and to pay for an aisle wheelchair," he tweeted.
But looks like hope is not lost. Ankit tells us that a day after we wrote about him, he was contacted by the Air India office in Heathrow, apologising for their previous message. "They told us that there was a miscommunication from their end and that they will provide me all the assistance that I need, from London until my final destination which is Ahmedabad," says Ankit. He is now all set to fly to India on the Air India flight, which will depart from Heathrow on May 23, with his mother.
"I am still awaiting a confirmation call from Air India. However, this is a relief," says Ankit, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy. He cannot walk and is completely dependent on the wheelchair. Previously, he had also told us that the repatriation flight tickets are quite expensive and it was difficult for him to afford two tickets to India. That was another reason behind him contemplating putting up his wheelchair for sale. "I don't have to sell the wheelchair now. A few good samaritans have helped me arrange the funds for my ticket. This is one good side of social media," he says.
Ankit however, doesn't know if the quarantine facility back in India is disable-friendly. "We are supposed to go on a 14-day institutional quarantine upon arrival. I hope that the facility is disable-friendly," he says.