International travellers at the Chennai airport are facing a tough time with the mandatory Rapid PCR tests and the high fees being charged.
The Government of India company, ‘Hindlabs’ that is a ‘mini Ratna’ is charging Rs 3,400 per passenger and taking long hours to deliver the report.
Surjit Sivanandan, a travel agent based out of Chennai and a frequent flier to Dubai, told IANS, “For people like me who travel on work purposes to Dubai it is not that difficult and can afford, but I have seen several ordinary labourers who get a pittance as salary running from pillar to post to arrange the money.”
Other than this most of the travellers don’t have any idea of the Rapid PCR test and they are informed of the test on reaching the airport, several travellers said.
Shahjahan, a construction worker who hails from Thoothukudi and travelling for the first time to Dubai, said it was a nightmare at the Chennai airport.
Shahjahan said, “It was a sad day for me. I spent almost all the money I had for arranging the job visa, my travel to the airport and other incidental expenses. It was only on reaching the airport that I came to know of the Rapid PCR test and I didn’t have money for the test. Luckily I reached seven hours prior to the departure and arranged money from my home town and took the test.”
The high rates charged by the government controlled company has irked the passengers.
South Indian Travel agents association general secretary, Venugopal Krishan told IANS, “The Tamil Nadu government must immediately intervene in the matter and the rates need to be slashed down. Moreover, a proper awareness is to be given to all the passengers who are travelling to the UAE on the Rapid PCR test and its present rates so that the passengers arrive prepared.