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Centre to bear ticket fare of Saudi expatriates wishing to return home

Centre to bear ticket fare of Saudi expatriates wishing to return home

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Thiruvananthapuram The Centre has responded positively to Kerala's request to bear full ticket fares of expatriates in Saudi Arabia wishing to return to the state due to the implementation of a new labour law in that country, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting that discussed various issues faced by emigrants there, he said Overseas Indian Affairs minister Vayalar Ravi had informed the state that the Centre would take care of the expenses.

Mr Chandy said the cabinet came up with a three pronged approach to extend all possible help to the expatriates.

An option was to explore the possibility of retaining Keralites having no valid documents in Saudi Arabia in accordance with the laws there.

The second was for the Centre to bear the cost of flight tickets of those staying in Saudi unlawfully, he said.

A rehabilitation package for the returnees was also discussed at the meeting, he added.

The government, he said, would set up help desks at four district collectorates to cross check and validate details of Keralites seeking the Indian Embassy's 'exit pass' for safe departure from Saudi Arabia due to the implementation of 'Nitaqat' as part of that country's move for localisation of jobs in the private sector.

These desks would soon start functioning in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod, from where the maximum numbers of Keralites have gone to Saudi Arabia. The Embassy would forward the details of those seeking passes to the Collectors, who would check their credentials, he said.

Mr Chandy said a five-member cabinet sub-committee with Minister for NORKA (Non-resident Kerala Association) K C Joseph as convener has been constituted to work out a rehabilitation package for those who return from Saudi Arabia.

Discussions would be held with government officials, banks and the Centre before giving final shape to the package, he said.

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