Thiruvananthapuram: It was when a Keralite medicine student from China's Wuhan returned to her hometown in Thrissur that India reported its first COVID-19 in case.
After almost 10 months of lockdown, India and the rest of the world is slowly opening up its economies. But, around 10,000 students from Kerala, studying medicine and allied courses in China, are facing an uncertain future as the Chinese government is not allowing them back in the country to resume their studies.
After the Covid pandemic struck Wuhan and other parts of China, several students had come back home.
Susan Ann Varghese of Thiruvananthapuram and a final year medical student at China, said that she "cannot go back as the Chinese government is not allowing the Indian students to return and the universities which had taken initiative to send us back home are not responding".
Students have paid the final year fee of Rs 3.25 lakh and the classes are being conducted online. However the National Medical Commission will not recognise medical courses conducted online and this will create major problems for the students as delayed classes will lead to the course being left incomplete.
"We have been left in the lurch there is no progress on the classes of my son. We have taken huge loans to send him to China and I don't know if his course will be recognised at the end. Someone should take the initiative and get him and other students to their universities," said Madhavan Nair, of Kozhikode, whose son Rohan Nair is also a final year medical student in China.
As the issue is international, the state government cannot do much.
Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said: "As this is an inter-country issue, Central government can intervene more. We are trying to bring the issue to the Central government's notice".
With most of the students hailing from middle and lower middle class families, any delay in completion of courses will throw their family budget off the rails and parents and students are anxious as they look for a solution to this vexed issue.
"We are helpless, we have brought the matter to the notice of the Union government through our MPs and are expecting the government to immediately act on the matter and to help us out of this situation," Rajan Mathew, a businessman from Kottayam, whose son Ranjith is a final year medical student in China, said.
(With inputs from IANS)