Two months since her husband died in Saudi, Vijayalakshmi is still waiting for his body

Pochaiah’s family of five has been left helpless as he was the sole breadwinner of the family.
Two months since her husband died in Saudi, Vijayalakshmi is still waiting for his body
Two months since her husband died in Saudi, Vijayalakshmi is still waiting for his body
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For close to two months now, Markili Vijayalakshmi has been sobbing helplessly. 

"I don’t know how we’ll survive. We depended completely on his income, and now I have the responsibility of educating four children on me," she says, as she breaks down.

On June 3, Vijayalakshmi's husband, Marikili Pochaiah (41) died in Riyadh, while employed as a ward boy at a hospital by the contracting company Al-Nasban.

It’s almost been two months since his death, but Vijayalakshmi still has not seen the body of her husband. Thanks to bureaucratic red tape, Pochaiah’s body is still lying preserved in a government hospital in Riyadh.

Srikanth, Pochaiah’s eldest son, alleges that Al-Nasban did not even inform them about Pochaiah’s death, let alone helping the family bring the body back home. It was through friends of Pochaiah that they heard about his death. The family has now turned to the Ministry of External Affairs for help.

Srikanth says that they are still not even sure what exactly caused Pochaiah’s death. While some people told the family it was a heart attack, others told them that Pochaiah had breathing problems and collapsed. 


Srikanth says that Pochaiah went to Saudi Arabia after it became impossible for him to support his family by farming their land. "Back home, he was involved in agriculture and was raising four children. However, he could not make enough money to educate all of us," says Srikanth.

Poor monsoon and continuous crop failures had left Pochaiah with no other option but to fly to Saudi Arabia for employment around three and a half years ago, his family said.

He also had big dreams of earning money in the Gulf, and eventually wanted to get his two daughters married.

Srikanth is doing a diploma course, while his sisters are studying in Class 9 and Class 7 respectively. The youngest sibling is studying in Class 4. 

As Pochaiah was the sole breadwinner of the family, the education of all his children is in jeopardy. 

"We did not even expect it. He would speak to us frequently, and he would always tell us to eat properly, and ask us to study hard and focus on our education. He never told us about any problems he had," Srikanth says.

His family has been desperately trying to retrieve his body, but to no avail.

"We have met several people including Telangana Deputy Speaker Padma Devender Reddy, the local Collector, BJP leader Dr K Laxman, Congress MP Anand Bhaskar and the Telangana government, but we have still not received the body," Srikanth says. 

"Since nobody is taking care of sending her husband's dead body to India, and she has no other means, on the advice of some local leaders, she applied online to get the body deported, but to no avail," Laxman's letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reads.

He also asked Swaraj to expedite the process.

Srikanth also has a copy of a letter sent by Telangana's Chief Secretary to the Consulate General of India in Jeddah and the Ministry of External Affairs to transport Pochaiah's mortal remains, as the family hails from an extremely poor background and is unable to bear any expenses. The letter is dated June 28.

Despite all this, the family continues to wait.

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