500 plane tickets donated to help amnesty seekers
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter / GULF NEWS Published: August 03, 2007, 23:12
Abu Dhabi: An organisation from the Indian state of Kerala has donated 500 plane tickets for amnesty seekers who cannot afford to pay for their way home, a senior state official said here.
The decision to give the donation was taken by a meeting at Malayali Samajam here and convened by Non Resident Keralite Affairs Department (NORKA-Roots), said general manager S. Mohammad Najeeb, who was deputed by Kerala Chief Minister to the UAE. “It was decided to provide various facilities for needy amnesty seekers including at least 500 free air tickets initially,” he said.
M.A.Yousuf Ali, a prominent businessman who chaired the meeting, as Director of NORKA-Roots, offered to donate 100 plane tickets. “The rest of the tickets will be arranged by a special committee formed at the meeting,” said Najeeb, who has also been elected as the ex-officio chairman of the committee.
About 25 Keralite community organisations which participated in the meeting will work together to arrange the rest of the 400 tickets, said Ansar Chirayinkeezh, Chairman of the committee and also the president of the Samajam.
Food and water
Transportation for all amnesty seekers from the Indian Embassy to Al Watbha which is about 40 kilometres away from the city, has been arranged by Ali’s EMKE group. He has also offered to provide 2,400 bottles of water everyday until the end of grace period.
Several other Indian organisations and individuals are providing food for more than 1,000 amnesty seekers everyday, said Ansar.
Ali said the community has to ensure that a maximum number of illegal workers are taking advantage of the opportunity given by the UAE government. “There might not be an amnesty after this. We have to educate people about the risk and hardship of being illegals in a foreign land.”
Najeeb said he will convene similar meetings of Keralite organisations in Dubai and Sharjah and take measures to help the needy amnesty seekers.
So far more than 100,000 illegal residents have got their status legalised or have been issued outpasses by residency departments across the country.
Officials had said the number of amnesty seekers would increase at the end of the deadline which is September 3, but the figures have been disappointing, according to officials.
After the amnesty, police will set up checkpoints across the country to arrest the illegals.