One-year moratorium on immigrants' loans in AP

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Hyderabad, Sep 17 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today announced a one-year moratorium on all loans taken by the immigrants and their families, while asserting the government's commitment to rehabilitate illegal immigrants stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In order to facilitate the safe return of thousands of immigrants stranded in the UAE, the government, in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, was arranging tickets free-of-cost for them, he told reporters here.

The government would hold talks with construction companies and hold 'job melas' for the UAE returnees to find jobs in the state, he added.

An estimated 14,000 to 15,000 workers were still stranded in the UAE, Minorities Welfare Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir, also in-charge of NRI Affairs, said. As many as 17,000 unskilled and semi-skilled workers, including about 13,000 belonging to Nizamabad, had returned so far.

Charging the Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) with 'politicising the plight of workers', Mr Shabbir said the previous TDP Government had done nothing under a similar situation in 1996. TRS President K Chandrasekar Rao did precious little for the workers when he was the Union Labour Minister, he alleged.

The UAE Government, which in June had given a three-months time for all illegal foreign workers to either become legal residents or leave without penalty, had extended the amnesty up to October end and warned them of imprisonment thereafter.


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