THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has said the expatriate Keralites who wish to return to the state will have to wait till May. “If all expatriates are suddenly brought back to the state, it will be difficult to arrange quarantine facilities for them,” he said. Muraleedharan’s statement comes at a time when the state government is under immense pressure from various quarters to facilitate the return of Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) to the state once lockdown restrictions are eased.
Muraleedharan said priority will be given to NRKs who are facing maximum difficulty. He was replying to questions from Indian expats from various parts of the world on a show aired by a Malayalam TV channel. The Union minister said a group of NRKs, a film crew stranded in Jordan and students in Moldova have shown interest to come back. All will be brought back when the situation improves, he said. Quarantine facilities will be set up for Keralites in the UAE after obtaining permission from the government of the Gulf nation. Steps will be taken to ensure delivery of food and medicines to the labour camps.
The Indian Embassy will make necessary intervention with the help of voluntary groups there, the minister said. He termed as unwarranted the proposal to send medical teams from India to foreign countries. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) state general secretary K P A Majeed had on Wednesday written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urging them to facilitate the return of the expatriates who wish to come back to the state.
Meanwhile, KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran said the Central and state governments should urgently intervene to allay the fears of Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) in the backdrop of Covid-19 outbreak. “Lakhs of Keralites living in labour camps in Gulf countries are staring at a bleak future with the rise in Covid-19 cases. In most of the places, the situation is similar to curfew.
Life has become miserable for them with many stranded in the camps after losing jobs,” said Mullappally. “Most of them live together in dingy rooms. Without enough quarantine facilities, situation could turn worse if any one of them tests positive for Covid-19. The Centre should make diplomatic intervention to solve the issues,” he said.