National

Over a lakh Keralites register to return home

hiruvananthapuram, Apr 27 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/27/2020 12:14:09 PM IST

 TTwelve hours after the Kerala government opened a website, on which all those who want to return from abroad would have to register, over a lakh of Kerala diaspora have registered expressing their desire to return, when the airports open.

These registrations are mostly from the various Middle East countries and among it, the maximum registrations are from the UAE.

The registration has to be done on www.norkaroots.org, of the state-run Norka-Roots, the official body of diaspora.

This new facility was opened by the Kerala government, after the Centre, following the numerous requests from several quarters decided to take a positive step.

The Union Cabinet Secretary a few days back asked the various state-chief secretaries about the arrangements and the manner in which the returning diaspora would be taken care of.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had informed the efforts of Kerala were praised by the Cabinet secretary and asked other states to follow the way Kerala has done.

Vijayan also pointed out that all arrangements were ready at the four Kerala airports.

Those arriving will be screened. While those with no Covid-19 symptoms will be allowed to go for home isolation, others will be quarantined under the present medical guidelines.

According to the state government, various hostels, hotels, halls, private hospitals with accommodation facilities as well as floating houseboats at Alappuzha are ready to house them. While many of these coronavirus care centres would be operated for free, those wishing better facilities and comfort will have to pay.

Of an estimated 2.5 million non-resident Keralites, 90 per cent of them are in the Middle East countries, three to five lakh are likely to return after the revival of air services.

Kerala Cong demands help for returning diaspora

The Congress in Kerala on Monday demanded that both the state and the Centre should come out with a slew of measures like subsidised return air tickets, temporary and long term financial support to help the returning Kerala diaspora.

With the Kerala government opening up a registration online facility at the state owned Norka-Roots website, by which over a lakh of Keralites especially in the Middle East have registered. According to estimates, around 3 to 5 lakh Keralites are expected to return when the airport opens. Former State Congress president M.M. Hassan asked the Centre to see that every diaspora who has lost his job in the Middle East be immediately paid a sum of 1000 UAE dirhams which is there in the Indian Community Welfare Fund in the custody of every Indian Embassy. 

“Each time an Indian renews his or her passport there, a sum of $11 is charged. The money goes into the Embassy Fund and this can now be used for the returning diaspora. Pakistan had provided a 30 per cent discount for its nationals when they were flown back,” said Hassan and also requested the state and the Centre to formulate short and long term rehabilitation programmes.

 

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