Dubai: An Indian carpenter who had been stranded illegally in Sharjah for years has been repatriated - thanks to fellow Indian community members and the Consul General of India (CGI) in Dubai.
Rakesh Kumar, 45, was stuck in the UAE without a job, money, food and accommodation. Speaking to us from his hometown, Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Kumar said he was happy to finally be home.
Tale of this carpenter
Kumar came to the UAE on a job as a carpenter for a salary of Dh700 in 2016. This, he said, was a massive amount of money when converted to Indian rupees, as he had struggled to make ends meet in India.
For two years, his job went well. But after that he was made redundant at work.
Kumar recalled, "My passport was taken away, my visa expired in 2018 and I was left with no money. I had no savings with me to sustain [my life]."
Needless to say, Kumar's dream of securing a strong future in the UAE was stalled after losing his job. He had no choice but to leave the labour accommodation which he shared with other blue collar workers.
After that, Kumar was forced to live off the generosity of good Samaritans.
He said, "Some would drop cash, some food to eat, some would drop off dry eats. Life was full of struggle and I could do little to save myself. What [could I do] with no money, visa, passport."
He said: "My situation worsened after my employer even put an absconding case in my head. I just did not [know] where to go and felt very helpless. It was the worst days of my life."
Help finally comes
One day, Kumar said, a lady by the name Reshma saw him.
"She took my details. The next day she came with few other people and they took all my details. They said they would take my case to the Indian Embassy," he claimed.
Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul, said the case of Kumar was reported to the consulate earlier this month.
“A member of the Indian Association in Sharjah got in touch with Kumar about the situation, as he was working for a company which was not paying him a salary. On top of that, Kumar’s employer slapped an absconding case on him. As a result, he was unable to return home. His passport was taken away, his visa had expired and he was thrown out of his accommodation.”
Vipul said the consulate had arranged to settle all of his outstanding visa penalty fees in the UAE. The consulate also arranged Kumar’s out pass and ticket to return home. On Saturday, January 11, Kumar returned home.
According to the consul general, the Indian consulate has issued 800 tickets to distressed Indians and provided subsistence - to meet daily living expenses – for 500 people.
Speaking to Gulf News from Lucknow, Rakesh said: “I am so thankful for all the help I have received. I was stuck in a bad situation without knowing where to go. I am just glad it has all worked out good.”
Kumar’s wife Asha also spoke to Gulf News, who was emotional after receiving her husband.
“We were all so afraid of my husband’s safety. Now we know there are so many good Indians living in the UAE. They have helped my husband come home. Thank you!” she said.