Dubai: The extension of the lockdown in India till May 31 has come as a huge blow to stranded Indian expats who are desperate to return to the UAE.
While some fear their jobs are at stake, others say they just want to be back with their children from whom they have been separated.
The Indian expats, some of whom have been stuck for over two months already, said they were hopeful that they would be able to fly back to the UAE after May 15, but the extension of the lockdown now had dashed their hopes.
“My company has already started looking for a replacement,” said Saravanan Sambasivam, 28, a Dubai-based HSE manager, stuck in Chennai. He said had registered with the Federal Authority for Identity & Citizenship (ICA) website to return to the UAE, but to no avail.
He and his wife Sandhiya left for Chennai along with their one-year-old son Nihith on March 12. “My mother underwent an operation and we flew down to see her. We never thought things would turn out this way. We had return tickets booked for March 27, but advanced the booking for March 19 as I had to get back to work. But we continue to be here,” he said.
He said he and his wife Sandhiya, 27, are on unpaid leave as they have exhausted their annual holidays.
“We are living on our savings now have bank loans to pay. Owing to the lockdown in India, there is little pediatric help available. My son’s vaccinations have been delayed for 55 days now,” he added.
In another case, Indian mother Supriya Sharma, 41, is desperate to be reunited with her Dubai-based children, aged nine and six. Supriya was set to fly back to Dubai last month when the UAE announced the suspension of flights in a bid to combat the pandemic.
She was booked to return on an Indigo flight from Ahmedabad. But when she reached the airport and had even checked in, she was informed the flight would not make it. She then left to her parents’ house in New Delhi.
Supriya has been stuck in India’s capital for more than a month now. “My younger son is very attached to me. He has been having nightmares,” she said, adding that her husband has been trying to explain the situation to the kids but without much success. “We have been separated as a family and it has been very difficult.”
Explaining why she left the UAE without her children, Supriya said her brother was undergoing a kidney transplant in India and she had flown down to look him up. She said she did not take her kids as she did not want them to be exposed to a hospital environment.
In an earnest appeal for help to return to the UAE, Supriya said her younger son was unable to cope with his online studies without her. “He is lagging behind in his classes.”
Another stranded UAE resident in India is Rakshita Ravishankar who landed in the country on March 11. Her return was booked for March 19.
“My father fell critically ill and was in the ICU on ventilator. I had to fly down to see him. It has been two months now and I am away from my husband and my life in Dubai.”
Similarly, Maninder. S, who landed in India to see his terminally ill father on March 17, said, “My father died on April 2. I am waiting to return to the UAE. My wife and two children six-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son are in the UAEs. My wife is managing on her own but is nort keeping well as she has a kidney stone peoblem.”