NAT 200512 Businessman reward-1589266184670
Left to right: Anantha, Sreekumar, Vishnu and Sunitha Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: A desperate Keralite businessman in Dubai has offered a reward of Rs 10 lakh (Dh50,000 approximately) to any one who can reunite his son and wife, stranded in two neighbouring Indian states because of the coronavirus lockdown in the country.

Sreekumar K.R, who runs a chemical factory, said he announced the “prize money” in a Facebook post last Tuesday.

He told Gulf News he had no other option.

“My son, Anantha, 21, is stuck in Tamil Nadu and facing immense hardships while my wife Sunitha and youngest son Vishnu are in Karnataka,” Sreekumar told Gulf News on Tuesday.

“I was even willing to hire a helicopter to fly Anantha to Karanataka but didn’t get permission. I tried everything to bring them together. From senior politicians to top government officials, I reached out to everyone. When nothing worked, I announced the reward on social media,” he said.

“Any individual can also try to get my family together on or before 12/5/20 and claim 10L,” Sreekumar said in the Facebook post on May 5.

He said the offer is valid until midnight.

Sreekumar said dozens of people have approached him since he put up the post.

“Some wanted the money in advance but they had no firm plan to get my son to Karnataka. One man, for instance, suggested driving him on the back of his motorbike. He claimed he knew how to evade police check posts. But I didn’t want to do anything that was illegal and fraught with risks so I politely declined him.”

Sreekumar said not everyone who contacted him was after the prize money. “Several politicians and journalists offered to help for free. In fact, it’s because of their efforts that Anantha has now got a travel pass,” he said.

Sreekumar said Anantha is pursuing a career in chartered accountancy in Tiruchirapally in Tamil Nadu while Sunitha and Vishnu, 13, are in Mangaluru in neighbouring Karnataka. “Ideally, I wanted them to be with my mother in our house in Kerala, but that’s asking for too much. Flying them to the UAE is also ruled out. In these stressful times, the least I want is my children and wife to be together. I announced the reward hoping someone could bring Anantha safely to Karnataka. But I reckon the prize money will remain unclaimed,” he said.