Abu Dhabi: The expatriate associations in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) are joining hands to strengthen the legal battle against airlines charging exorbitant rates in the Gulf-Kerala sector during the peak travel season.
The activities are coordinated by the Bharatiya Pravasi Federation, led by NRK businessmen Saji Cherian and Thomas Koyatt. The other demands put forward by the associations include free transportation of bodies of Indian nationals who die abroad, rehabilitation of Gulf returnees, and granting of voting rights.
The Bharatiya Pravasi Federation is currently convening joint meetings of expatriate associations in the GCC nations and seeking their support by explaining the gravity of the issues in detail.
Next rounds of meetings in September
The next round of meetings will be held in Dubai and Oman on September 7. Besides the organizers, prominent social and cultural personalities, and influencers will attend the parleys. Similar conclaves will be soon held in other countries as well.
In the second stage, the organizers will conduct seminars and symposiums in the GCC countries to garner support from the expatriate population. And in the final phase, the organizers are attempting to hold meetings to be attended by Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia.
Earlier Saji Cherian had filed public interest litigation in the High Court and the Supreme Court, seeking sanction of chartered flight services in the Gulf-Kerala sector to help those who couldn’t travel back home due to exorbitant airfares.
Offices were opened in Delhi and Dubai, spending huge amounts, to coordinate the activities. Bharatiya Pravasi Federation Thomas Koyatt and Saji Cherian contributed Rs 20 lakhs each as part of efforts to raise funds.
“The Federation is attempting to exert pressure on the Central Government to find a solution to the acute travel woes. Besides, efforts are on to make various political parties include the four demands put forward by the Federation in their election manifestoes,” they said, adding they would continue the legal battle till a solution to the issue faced by expatriates for decades altogether was arrived at.
The Federation has taken up the matter after a report of the Airport Council International cited that the airfares have risen by a whopping 41 per cent than that before Covid. They point out the government could no longer neglect the issues of the expatriate population which brings in sizable foreign remittances.