The State government is making arrangements for travel of Keralites who are forced to return from Saudi Arabia as the grace period granted for compliance with the Nitaqat law ends on November 4.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after a meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday that free air tickets would be provided to all who had obtained exit permits from the Indian embassy. Though the initial estimate was that about 10,000 persons would have to return, the number would now be fewer as many people could regularise their stay during the grace period. The Saudi government had adopted a lenient attitude in enforcing the law and that had helped.

The Chief Minister said that regional committees had been constituted at Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam to coordinate arrangements for travel of those returning to Kerala. The Central government had been requested to share the costs. However, Kerala would meet the full expenses if Central assistance is not forthcoming.

The Chief Ministeer said that the Cabinet would decide on a rehabilitation package for those returning from Saudi Arabia at its next meeting.

More In: Kerala | National