Repatriation of expats turns into political issue; UDF intervenes

K Padmajan

Embassies should intervene to resolve the issues of those who are trapped in labour camps in foreign countries.

Kochi: The repatriation of the expats is likely to turn into a burning political issue in Kerala during the COVID times. UDF has come up with the mission to bring back the NRIs which is the biggest crisis before the state and Centre alike. UDF MLAs are staging a sit-in protest in front of the Kochi international airport raising the issue.

Earlier, the UDF MPs had requested the prime minister to repatriate the NRIs. The UDF leaders are of the belief that their efforts yielded result. The UDF also alleged that both state and central governments are taking an irresponsible stand in handling the issues of expats.

When most of the expats all over the world are Indians, the central government refuse to consider their problems. Britain, Netherlands and Germany are taking their citizens in chartered flights. But the central government is merely watching it, they alleged. Embassies should intervene to resolve the issues of those who are trapped in labour camps in foreign countries.

The poor labourers should be provided with financial assistance from the Indian Social Welfare Fund of the embassies. There is a huge amount in the welfare fund which collects money from the expats who renew their visas and this should be allowed to be used for helping them, UDF demanded.

UDF convenor Benny Behanan told 'Mathrubhumi' that though the central government is responsible for bringing back the expats, they are not taking any action properly. When other countries take their people in chartered flights, India government is standing as mute spectator.

UAE has strongly stated that they will rethink about labour contract if the citizens are not taken back. The state government should arrange facilities to quarantine the NRIs who come back from abroad. Both the Centre and state should announce special package for expats, the UDF demanded.

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