Harsha Raj Gatty
Mangaluru, Jun 7: In what may bring a major relief to flyers from the city, the state Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Forum has sought waiver from the union government on the passenger user development fees (UDF) levied at the Mangaluru International Airport (MIA).
The proposal was recently submitted by the deputy chairman of NRI Forum Karnataka, Dr Arathi Krishna to the minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj.
"We specifically chose MIA - since substantial number of locals travel abroad to Gulf counties using this terminal. The move will surely benefit everyone, especially those who are employed in blue-collar s employment," Dr Arathi said. Since, the implementation of UDF in 2010 at MIA, the passengers boarding international flights have been charged Rs 825 per head. Besides, the NRI Forum has also requested the MEA to upgrade the facilities at Passport Seva Kendra in the city.
The NRI forum also submitted to MEA, a list of seven 'fake' agencies that have been duping job aspirants intending to work abroad by misleading them.
Referring to the recent rescue of two local youths Damodar Shettigar and Puneet Jayaraj from Saudi Arabia, who were forced to work as livestock-rearers for several months, Dr Arathi said that the Forum will proactively proceed against such unscrupulous elements. "We are already monitoring cases of another 5-6 expatriates, who have reached out to us citing employer exploitation. We will act on it, as soon as their complaints are verified," she added.
Among other list of demands to the MEA, the Karnataka NRI Forum has also submitted that Indian schools in Gulf countries must be asked to offer Kannada as optional subject, similar to their counterparts such as Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil.
According to Karnataka NRI Forum, approximately 2 to 4 lac people from the state have migrated to Gulf nations seeking employment opportunity.