They come back home in coffins

Special Correspondent
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People narrate stories of hardships trying to eke out a living in the Gulf

Gulf returnees, mostly women domestic servants, narrating their tales of woe at an interaction in Hyderabad on Wednesday.- Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
Gulf returnees, mostly women domestic servants, narrating their tales of woe at an interaction in Hyderabad on Wednesday.- Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

A young housewife, Durgam Swapna, from Pathaguduru of Velkatur mandal in Karimnagar district struggles to take care care of her nine-year-old daughter Swetha Vaishnavi and 11-year-old son Sraavan Kumar without her husband.

Her better half, Bheemesh, and two other Bangladeshi nationals were shot down by military personnel, who mistook them to be infiltrators, as they were crossing the great desert between Muscat and Dubai in the Gulf sometime last year.

Fate's decision

After five years of slogging as a labourer in Muscat, he wanted to head home. Because he could not afford the exit fee for irregular migrants, he decided to leave the Gulf back home via Dubai where it was relatively easier. But fate decided otherwise and he was shot down and the body was brought to A.P.

This is just one case in point. An estimated 20 lakh people from A.P., a majority from the Telangana region live in harsh conditions, are trying to eke out a livelihood as labourers in the Gulf region so that they could send home some much-needed money.

Of these, about 400 people return home in coffins due to various reasons.

Cause of deaths

The cause of death varies from heart attacks and suicides, inability to withstand the extremely stressful working and living conditions, apart from losing lives in road accidents and on-site mishaps, said M. Bheem Reddy, Vice-President of the Migrants Rights Council (MRC), an organisation that has been striving to make the life of migrants easier with support from the Central and State governments and help from philanthropists in A.P. and abroad.

Mr. Bheem Reddy and others, including P. Narayanaswami, MRC president D.P. Reddy, India Representative of the Telangana Development Forum (TDF) and Dharma Gurava Reddy, representing the TDF in the USA were speaking at a meeting organised here on Wednesday at a pre-migration information programme for Gulf migrants.

Create awareness

The objective was to improve the very low awareness levels among the poorest of the poor people leaving the shores of A.P. for a livelihood in a strange land.

Among the other demands that they sought from the Government of Andhra Pradesh was an ex-gratia of Rs.2 lakh and support in helping them to be rehabilitated in their new life in their home State.

  • An estimated 20 lakh people from Andhra Pradesh work in Gulf

  • About 400 people return home in coffins for various reasons

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