Kannadigas stranded at UAE to be brought back home in special flight

Source: DC | Published on 7th May 2020, 3:04 PM | State News |

Bengaluru: After continuous pressure on Union government from Karnataka NRI Forum- UAE, the first special flight carrying 180 Kannadigas who stranded at UAE due to Covid-19 pandemic will fly to Mangaluru on May 10.

The special flight will land in Mangaluru airport on May 10, and the state government has directed Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts authority to quarantine all passengers once they reach.  

All Kannadigas will be given permission to travel back home only after they test negative in Covid test at Dubai airport.

In fact, Karnataka was missing in the list of states to receive special flights when Ministry of External Affairs arranged them to bring stranded Indians at UAE. Special flights were arranged only to Kerala and Tamil Nadu people stranded at UAE in the first stage.

Thanks to Karnataka NRI Forum of UAE which opened helpline (https://uaekannadahelpline.club) to seek assistance to Kannadigas, nearly 2000 Kannadigas have registered for assistance in which 127 pregnant women, 27 senior citizens, 700 people who have lost jobs aftermath of coronavirus sought assistance from NRI forum.

After providing food and shelter to Kannadigas who lost jobs at UAE since March 2020, NRI forum put pressure on both state and Centre to arrange special flights to send them to home. The NRI Forum has approached Indian Consulate at UAE and chief minister BS Yediyurappa to evacuate Kannadigas, but got no response. Following this, Karnataka NRI Forum President Praveen Shetty approached Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers DV Sadananda Gowda for help. Gowda immediately responded the call and he spoke to MEE to arrange special flight for Kannadigas as well.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, UAE Karnataka NRI Forum President Praveen Shetty said,  “We have received confirmation message from Indian Consulate UAE stating that Indian government has arranged special flight to Karnataka. After conducting Covid test, Kannadigas will be send to Mangaluru in first special flight. All Kannadigas who registered in helpline will be brought to their homeland. Indian government has fixed reasonable air fair of Rs. 13,000 to per person.”

Indian government has promised to arrange special flight to Mangaluru or Bengaluru by next week to bring Kannadigas.

Comparing to other Indian States, Karnataka has the highest number of its people working in UAE. Around 1.25 lakhs Kannadigas are working in UAE in which majority are working classes. Due to Covid-19 pandemic thousands of workers have lost jobs, Mr. Shetty explained.

"Indian government had arranged special flights from US, UK, Singapur and other countries to bring back Indians, but excluded UAE in the list. Actually, lakhs of Indians are working in UAE as labourers and in odd jobs, the government should have given first priority to bring labourers rather rich one", he opinioned.

"BJP has 27 MPs from Karnataka. We continuously requested all BJP MPs and state government but none of them came to our help. Thanks to Mr Gowda for his timely intervention to bring stranded Kannadigas", Mr Shetty said. However Mr Gowda was not available for reaction.

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