There is no need for panic over Saudi Arabia’s decision to impose the restrictive job law, Nitaqat, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

Mr. Chandy told reporters here on Saturday that the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia was actively functioning to attend to the needs of the Indians there. India shares warm bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and the Centre was not sparing any effort to protect the interests of the Indians there.

“The Saudi administration always had a liberal approach to India and our people. I hope the issue will be resolved amicably,” he said. The Chief Minister already had discussions with the Indian envoy, officials at the embassy as well as the organisations of Keralites in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Chandy said he had held consultations with Union Minister for Defence A.K. Antony; Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid; Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi; and Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed. Though the government did not expect large-scale repatriation, discussions were being held at various levels to work out rehabilitation measures for the returnees. This would be ready by next week. He said the government had plans to introduce a toll-free helpline facility for the benefit of the kin of those in Saudi Arabia.

‘Toll imperative’

The State government was not against levying toll after developing roads, Mr. Chandy said. Mr. Chandy said that toll collection was imperative for road development but recently when the Centre took over four State highway stretches for development, the State government had requested to avoid toll collection on those roads.

But for improving the quality, the proposal was to develop it as two-lane roads. There would not be any marked difference in facilities. In this context, if the National Highway Authority of India decided to levy toll on the four stretches, it would draw public protest. Toll could be levied only after introducing new facilities.

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