Dubai: A stranded Indian worker in the UAE, who nearly lost his hand recently and has overstayed his visit visa by 10 years, is finally expecting to reunite with his family back home.
Theddu Laxman, from Hyderabad in south India, thanked the hospital that treated him and UAE officials for waiving his Dh22,000 medical bill and overstay fines, estimated to be Dh362,000.
What happened to him?
Laxman, 60, said he developed “some sort of infection” on his right forearm close to his wrist a few months ago. It worsened and by the time he sought medical help, his hand might have needed amputation, added Laxman.
He said he was hospitalised and underwent two operations and treatment for one and a half months at Al Dhaid Hospital, Sharjah. Now, his hand has almost fully recovered.
“I would like to thank the hospital for their great care and support. They not only saved my hand but were kind enough to waive the bill. I also want to thank the UAE government for waiving my immigration fines; I couldn’t have been able to go home otherwise,” said Laxman.
Laxman said he came to the UAE on a visit visa after paying “an agent” to find work 10 years ago. However, he claims his paperwork was never regularised and he survived by working unofficially as a labourer, earning around Dh1,200 a month, at different sites.
“One day I came back to my room after work and couldn’t find my passport. I don’t know if someone stole it. I had overstay fines so I was reluctant to report it,” Laxman said.
Months turned into years and Laxman kept on toiling to support his wife and three children back home. He has two daughters, aged 21 and 22, and a son aged 25.
“I managed to finish their schooling and got my daughters married off, all because I could send money home from here. That’s why I wanted to stay on.”
No job, no money
However, he could no longer find work following the COVID-19 outbreak. He was among 285 blue-collar workers — almost everyone from his home state of Telangana — who took shelter at a disused construction site in Sharjah earlier this year after getting laid off.
After authorities and social workers intervened, the group was temporarily moved to a Sharjah Police Academy housing facility in Al Dhaid. There, Laxman’s health condition was brought to the notice of officials and social workers, who arranged his treatment and subsequent waiver of bills and fines.
The group was shifted to a workers’ accommodation in Ajman, where Laxman is currently staying. Almost all of them have been repatriated.
Laxman’s out-pass under a government window to leave the UAE without immigration fines is under process, said S.V. Reddy, convener of the Non-Resident Indian Cell in Dubai for Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee, who is spearheading repatriation efforts for the stranded group.
“Laxman’s long road home has been made possible thanks to the kind officials in the UAE. I would like to thank everyone involved. When Laxman was at the academy housing, a police captain helped in getting him treated. We followed up his case and the hospital generously agreed to not take any payment. His immigration fines have also been cancelled. So it looks like he will be going home soon,” Reddy said.