Expats demand protection to investments in Kerala

M A Yusuffali speaks at Loka Kerala Sabha. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri

Thiruvananthapuram: Delegates attending the third edition of Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) urged the State Government to enact a law, if necessary, to guarantee protection to investments made by expatriates.

The demand was initially put forth by Yusuff Ali M A, Vice Chairman of NORKA-ROOTS and the Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group . Others, who spoke after him, too, reiterated the demand during the discussions that followed. 

Yusuff Ali said expats' investments are not getting adequate protection in the State. Officials issue stop memos after a non-resident Keralite constructs the necessary infrastructure after getting the necessary approvals. Several expats have had such bitter experiences in the State, he added. 

Introducing the approach document on behalf of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Industries Minister P Rajeev called for a comprehensive policy for immigration and recruitment to foreign countries. Expats have remitted Rs 2.3 lakh crore during the previous financial year.

Pointing out that about 1.8 crore Indians are working abroad, the minister said the welfare activities rolled out by Indian embassies and consulates are not effective. 

Addressing the LKS, Legislative Assembly Speaker M B Rajesh recalled the role of NRIs in projecting Kerala globally and supporting the State during crisis situations. 

Parliamentarians Elamaram Kareem, Jose K Mani, P Santhosh Kumar, and John Brittas, K T Jaleel, NORKA-ROOTS vice-chairman P Sreeramakrishnan, N S Madhavan, B Ravi Pillai, Azad Mooppan, Gokulam Gopalan, Gulfar Mohamed Ali, M Aniruddhan, Rasool Pookutty, A V Anoop, Vidya Vinod, Ajith Balakrishnan and others addressed the Sabha. 

The conclave will conclude today.

Complaints galore, no solution in sight

State ministers chairing the presidium had no answer when delegates at the Loka Kerala Sabha poured out the difficulties they have been facing overseas. 

Drawing attention to the difficult process involved in transporting bodies home, especially during the days of peak COVID-19, they said no action has been taken despite bringing the issues to the notice of the authorities. 

Ministers K Rajan, P Rajeev and P A Mohammed Riyas had the same response: "Write down all the issues, and we'll see what could be done."

A delegate turned emotional while raising the issue of several housemaids stuck overseas after the expiry of their visa. Their return is uncertain. Though it is known that several women are stuck abroad, NORKA does not have their specific numbers. 

The Sabha also heard of Malayalis taken abroad on promises of higher pay, but paid lower than what they had been earning back home. The government should take the initiate to ensure they got the promised pay. 

The delegates also demanded the government to intervene on behalf of Malayalis who have been struggling without shelter in Dammam. They also urged to hold a revenue adalat overseas to address the issues of NRIs facing land-related issues.

They also sought the government's intervention for lifting the ban on ayurveda medicines on flights. 

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