Hyderabad: A 16-year agonizing wait ended on Monday when a stranded migrant worker finally reunited with his family at the Kamareddy district of Telangana.
Hailing from Chinthamanpalli village in Domakonda Mandal of Kamareddy district, Neela Yellaiah had gone to Dubai in 2004 to work as a laborer in a construction company.
Luck, however, had other things in store for him. He left the job only to become a 'Khallivelli' (irregular resident) under UAE rules. For the past 16 years, he has been doing odd jobs in Dubai and Sharjah.
Neela Yelliah could not return home as he didn’t have a passport. His travel documents were withheld by the construction company because he left his job midway. The company never returned his passport.
Rupesh Mehta, a volunteer from the 'Jain Seva Mission' (JSM), a social service organization realized Yellaiah's plight and helped him in getting an Emergency Certificate (Temporary Passport) from the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
The temporary Passport was delayed due to the non-availability of the old passport details of Yellaiah. At the request of Neela Rajavva, wife of Yellaiah, Hyderabad Passport Office dug out old passport details from their database.
The details were shared with the Consulate General of India (CGI), Dubai which issued temporary Passport. Jitender Singh Negi and Harjeet Singh, Labour Consuls at CGI, Dubai, went out of the way to help Yellaiah. The consulate provided a free air ticket to Yellaiah from Dubai to Hyderabad.
According to UAE immigration regulations, those people who reside illegally shall have to pay an overstay fine of 25 UAE Dirhams (Rs.500) per day. For Yellaiah, it amounted to whopping 1.46 Lakh Dirhams (Rs.29 Lakhs) for 16 years.
Social worker Rupesh Mehta, in collaboration with the Indian Consulate contacted Dubai immigration officials who waived off the huge fine for Yellaiah.
He also got an exit permit (Immigration out pass) to leave the UAE. Given the COVID pandemic, the amnesty scheme announced by the UAE government for three months from August 18 to November 17 was very useful in this case.
Yellaiah finally arrived on an Air India Express flight from Dubai to Hyderabad on Monday night. E. Chittibabu, NRI Department Officer of Telangana government, who was on the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) duty at Hyderabad Airport allowed him to stay in ‘home quarantine’ at the request of his family members considering his physical weakness and memory loss.
The protocol staff at the Hyderabad airport took special care to complete the immigration formalities for Yellaiah. He was handed over to his wife Rajavva and other relatives after midnight. The family reached their native village on Tuesday morning.
Representatives of the Pravasi Mithra Labor Union in Hyderabad worked hard to coordinate with Yellaiah's family members, social workers in Dubai, the passport office in Hyderabad and the Indian Consulate in Dubai to bring back Yellaiah.
Yellaiah's family members thanked everyone who helped in bringing back Yellaiah.
Bheem Reddy Mandha, an immigrant rights activist has appealed to the State and Central governments to rehabilitate Yellaiah. He also urged the villagers to create an atmosphere so that Yelliaiah feels at home.
Indian migrant laborers working in Gulf countries and their family members can call the Pravasi Mithra helpline number +91 94916 13129 or the Government of India toll-free number 1800 11 3090 and Chargeable numbers +91 11 4050 3090 and +91 11 2307 2536 for assistance and advice.