The Cabinet formed a subcommittee to deal with issues arising out of the implementation of the Nitaqat law in Saudi Arabia. Briefing the media here on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said the State government was liaising with the Centre to mitigate the problems of Malayalis in Saudi Arabia. The problems would be solved to a great extent if the kingdom announced an amnesty for illegal migrants, he said.
The State government had proposed a three-pronged strategy to help Malayalis in Saudi Arabia. If their stay could be legalised, that should be done. For others, arrangements would be made for return and the Centre had agreed to meet the airfare cost to bring them home. For those without passports, permit cards should be issued by the Indian Embassy upon verification of their addresses in Kerala. For this, arrangements had been made in all district collectorates to respond to queries from the embassy within 24 hours. Special cells would be set up in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasaragod districts.
The subcommittee would work out a rehabilitation package for those forced to return from Saudi Arabia. Minister for Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs K.C. Joseph would be the convener of the subcommittee. Finance Minister K.M. Mani, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, Labour Minister Shibhu Baby John, and Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali would be members. It would draw up the package in consultation with government officials, banks, and others concerned. The Centre’s participation would be sought.
The State government was doing all in its power to address the concerns of overseas Keralites. Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed had already held talks with the Saudi authorities.