Thiruvananthapuram, April 1: The Kerala government on Monday blamed the media for "exaggerating" the return of Malayalee expatriates from Saudi Arabia ever since the oil-rich Gulf nation started implementing its new labour policy 'Nitaqat'.
KC Joseph, state Minister for Non-Resident Keralities Affairs, refuted the reports of an exodus. However, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was frank enough to admit that "the new law in Saudi Arabia will create difficulty and problem to expatriates."
He informed the Kerala Assembly on Monday that the state has asked the Centre to ensure that none of the expatriates are forced to return through deportation routes. If any expatriate is sent back through such a route, then he or she is invariably banned from travelling to even other countries in the Persian Gulf region.
Chandy said that he has also urged the Centre to request Saudi Arabia to announce a six-month-long amnesty for all those Malayalees who are likely to be impacted by the implementation of 'Nitaqat'.
Noting that the Centre is aware of the gravity of the situation, Chandy pointed out that he has already apprised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the crisis faced by thousands of Malayalee expatriates.
"No one can question the rules of another country, but it is true that the new law in Saudi Arabia will create difficulty and problem to expatriates," the chief minister said.
"At the most we can do is to bring the issues before the Saudi Arabian government and resolve the matter with the help of cordial relations with that country," he stressed.
Averring that there is no need for Malayalee expatriates to panic, the chief minister expressed his hope that the situation would be effectively handled through Saudi Arabia's goodwill.
Joseph said that the state has sought a rehabilitation package for those workers who have no option but to return because of 'Nitaqat'.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)