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Kerala urges Centre to seek Saudi Arabia amnesty

Kerala urges Centre to seek Saudi Arabia amnesty

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Monday asked the Centre to seek six months general amnesty from Saudi Arabia for expatriates, who would be affected by the new labour policy 'Nitaqat' being implemented in that country as part of localisation of jobs.

Besides this, the state would, among other things, ask the Centre to see that those who return were not send through deportation routes, that would result in a 'travel ban' to gulf regions, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly.

The Centre has seized of the matter and it would be resolved at the highest level, Chandy said, adding, the state had already brought the seriousness of the situation to the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"No one could question the rules of another country, but it is true that the new law in Saudi Arabia will create difficulty and problem to expatriates", he said.

"At the most we can do is to bring the issues before the Saudi Arabian government and resolve the matter with the help of cordial relations with that country", Chandy said.

Union Minister for Non-Resident Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Union Minister of state for External Affairs E Ahmed would be meeting the Prime Minister to discus the issue later in the day, Chandy said.

Stating that there was no need for panic, Chandy hoped that the situation would be handled and resolved through the "goodwill" of that country.

Minister for Non-Resident Keralities Affairs K C Joseph said there was no exodus of expatriates as projected in the media and described such reports as "exaggerated".

Kerala had also asked the Centre to announce a rehabilitation package for returnees under the 'Nitaqat' (classification in jobs), he said, while replying to an adjournment motion, sought to be moved by CPI-M led LDF

Opposition, which was disallowed by Speaker G Karthikeyan in view of Chandy's reply.

K V Abdul Khader (CPM), who sought to move the motion, alleged that the Centre failed to take necessary precautionary steps to avoid the present situation, which has caused hardships to those working in that country.

Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan criticised the Prime Minister for "not intervening" in the matter and said that an all party delegation from the state should meet Singh to apprise him of the 'seriousness of the situation'.

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