Kerala decision to levy charge from NRIs for quarantine facility evoke protests

South India
Typography

As of now over 4 lakh people from abroad, mostly from Middle East, have registered with the Non-resident Keralites Affairs Department to return to Kerala. The government has made institutional quarantine must for everybody, except elderly people, pregnant women and children below 10 years for a week.

The Kerala government’s decision to levy charge from non-resident Keralites returning to the state from abroad for the quarantine facility arranged by the has evoked strong protests from NRKs and opposition parties in the state.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had told reporters on May 26 that the government had decided to levy the charge as the expenses for arranging quarantine facility for all those who have registered to return to the state were huge and the government could not afford it.

As of now over 4 lakh people from abroad, mostly from Middle East, have registered with the Non-resident Keralites Affairs Department to returnrn to the state. The government has made institutional quarantine must for everybody, except elderly people, pregnant women and children below 10 years for a week.

After a week, people will have to remain in home quarantine for another week. The chief minister had informed that the government had identified about 2.5 lakhs beds across all the 14 districts to quarantine the returnees.

Representatives of NRI organisations in West Asia said that majority of the people returning to the state were those who had lost jobs and they won’t have any money with them when the return to the state to pay for the quarantine facility. Incidentally over 60,000 people who registered with the Norka site has cited job loss as the reason for their return to Kerala.

The NRIs have urged the government to identify such poor people and exempt from payment. Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP termed the government decision not only a cruelty to the poor overseas Keralites but also a betrayal of the Kerala model healthcare that the government boasts off.

Indian Union Muslim League leader and MP from Malappuram P K Kunhalikutty said that the government should identify sponsors to meet the expenses if the government cannot bear it. He pointed out that a large number of Keralites in the Gulf countries have been remaining without wages for months and have no money to buy even food.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala has also urged the government to reconsider the decision in view of the difficult situation.

Image Credit: New Indian Express

All Comments