In a humane gesture, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government waived off a fine of 5,00,000 dirhams (approximately Rs 99.92 lakhs) slapped on a 47-year-old migrant worker from Telangana, for overstaying his visit. The man was repatriated to his home state on his 47th birthday. According to local media reports, the man identified as Lendi Pothugonda Medi, a native of Pedapally in Nizamabad district left for UAE in 2007 on a visit visa, leaving behind his wife and daughter.
He told officials that he had been living in Dubai without a passport and other valid documents after the travel agent who brought him there, had abandoned him. Overstaying without valid documents attracted the fine. Pothugonda made efforts to reach out to Indian Consulate officials seeking help, as he was stuck without a job following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the help of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and Nizamabad Member of Parliament (MP) Arvind Dharmapuri, Consulate officials arranged an emergency passport and one-time travel documents, which helped him return home.
On his repatriation, Consulate General of India, Dubai said, "No better birthday gift to Pothugonda, who returned to Hyderabad today after 13 years, with help from the Consulate in getting his travel documents, fine waiver and ticket to India. Bit challenging for us but happy to assist."
Pothugonda was placed in institutional quarantine in Hyderabad, from where he will be sent to his native village in Nizamabad.
Earlier in August, Neela Yellaiah, a migrant labour who was stranded for 16 years in UAE returned to his home in Telangana Kamareddy district as immigration officials in Dubai waived off a huge fine. He also got an exit permit to leave the UAE. At the time too, officials at the office of the Consular General of India in Dubai helped him and provided a free air ticket from Dubai to Hyderabad .