Putting an end to their ordeal after being stuck in Iraq for over three years, 15 migrant labourers from Telangana were repatriated with active intervention of the state government on Friday. All of them hail from undivided districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Adilabad.
According to officials, the labourers were taken to Iraq on an assurance of employment in 2016 and abandoned by fake agents with 'visit visas', which only had a 3-month permit.
Officials said that the labourers faced problems like lack of food and accommodation after being stranded in Erbil, Iraq for over three years. Family members of the migrants along with activists of the 'Telangana Gulf Welfare Association' had approached the state government seeking their repatriation.
Following the directions of Information Technology and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, officials pursued the matter with authorities of the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and with the Consulate General of India in Erbil.
E Chittibabu, an official with the NRI affairs department of Telangana said, "Chief Secretary of Telangana government wrote to the Consulate General of India in Iraq. With timely intervention of the government, 15 labourers who were stranded in Iraq's Erbil reached their places on Friday night."
According to officials, the Kurdistan Regional Government waived off a penalty of around Rs 2 crore that was slapped on the workers for overstaying their visit, after the intervention by the Indian Consulate.
Officials of the Telangana government made arrangements for airfare and transportation of the workers to their native places.
In a video released by labourers before leaving to India, one of the migrants said, "We were facing difficulties without 'Iqama' visa (work visa) for two to three years. Our difficulties were taken to Telangana CM KCR and KTR by president of the Gulf Welfare Association. Our heartfelt thanks to CM KCR and KTR for acknowledging our hardships and providing us with help and assistance to come back to India."
Taking to Twitter, KTR later said, "Delighted to be of some help for these guys. Welcome back home."
Delighted to be of some help for these guys. Welcome back home https://t.co/6ewHEseGFqâ€” KTR (@KTRTRS) February 13, 2020