Pravasi Legal Aid Cell (Pleace India), an organisation of non-resident Indians based in Saudi Arabia, has initiated discussions with the airlines operating from the Gulf to Kerala to facilitate group booking of air tickets on discounted fares.
This was stated here at a press conference on Monday by chairman of the organisation’s advisory committee Mathews Kurian, who is a long-time resident of Saudi Arabia. During peak travel seasons, travellers to Kerala have to shell out close to $800 for an air ticket.
During the off-peak season, tickets cost about $590. Using the group booking facility, Pleace India hopes to make available tickets at about $450 during the off-season dates, he said.
For joining this initiative, NRIs will have to register at the website pravasi.infoclub.in/airtickets.
Travellers from Kerala to Saudi Arabia too can make use of this facility. Eventually the organisation hopes to facilitate reduced air fares to about one lakh people a year, he said.
The organisation’s chief coordinator of the Saudi chapter Latheef Thechi told the press conference that the Central and State governments must intervene urgently to provide legal aid to the Malayalis languishing in Saudi jails under trumped up charges.
In Saudi Arabia, there is a provision for an employer to declare an employee as absconding. If a citizen of another country is to be declared so, his passport is impounded and the respective embassy is informed and only then is he formally declared an absconder.
Once declared thus, a person is thrown into jail.
In the case of an Indian, he or she is directly sent to jail and the Indian government is nowhere in the picture.
Pleace India can formally do this job if it is so authorised by the government of India, he said.