Three members of an Indian family, stranded in Ajman for almost a year with expired residence visas and an accumulated emigration fine, have been repatriated home safely after an Indian social worker paid off the fine and purchased their air tickets.
The distressed Indian family was facing deep financial problems after their businesses failed.
Thanks to recent reports by Emirates 24|7 and the initiative of Sindhu Baiju, a radio jockey in Dubai, the distressed mother and her two young sons have reached home safely.
“I am happy to return home alive with my children. We were desperate for help because we had no money, no friends or neighbours to help us. We thought there are not many good people around to help us. Even our relatives and close friends kept away when we were facing financial problems,” Ashamol Rajan told Emirates 24|7, just before departing for Thiruvanathapuram by an Air India flight.
“I am alright now and my children will have to be enrolled in a school back home,” said Ashamol (33), wife of Rajan Koippallil N (47). Soorya Raj (7) and Kiran Raj (5) had stopped going to school as the family could not pay their tuition fees.
The family’s gold and passports were pledged with a money lender in Ajman but the passports were returned after intervention by social workers and the media. Indian Consulate officials softened their stance after Emirates 24|7 reported the family’s plight.
M G Pushpakaran, managing director of Phoenix Trading, who is also associated with the Indian Overseas Congress, told Emirates 24|7: “The family’s plight was brought to my notice by Sindhu Baiju, the radio jockey from Hit 96.7 FM, who tried to help them. Initially, officials at the Indian Consulate were not ready to give even free air tickets to the distressed family. We intervened in the case and bought food and other provisions for the family. We paid the huge fine imposed on the company in the wife’s name, cleared their names from Sharjah Emigration and the wife and two children reached Thiruvananthapuram safely on Wednesday morning at 5am.
“We have handled such cases in the past. When such issues are brought to our notice by the media here, we try to help them from our funds and sometimes from our pocket,” Pushpakaran said.
“The wife and children were excited to go home. They were living on charity and even food was brought by social workers. The family left without any problems though the head of the family is still in the UAE. We are trying to sort out his problems too,” he added.
“I am thankful to Mr Pushpan, Sindhu and Emirates 24|7. Without your help we would not have survived,” Rajan said.
Now Rajan is shifting to a less expensive house and will have to get his passport back from the Sharjah Emigration. “My passport was pledged with the Sharjah Emigration as guarantee for seeking pardon. The voucher receipt and other documents are with my sponsor,” he said.
Rajan’s wife had developed symptoms of mental illness and had attempted suicide twice by jumping from the fifth floor flat. The family was living without electricity for more than six months because the building’s owner had cut their power connection for non-payment of rent and electricity bill. Power was reconnected after the Youth India group intervened to help them.
The family’s problems worsened after a new trade licence was obtained in the name of Ashamol and the previous owner recruited three employees but their visas were not stamped. Sharjah Emigration imposed a huge fine which got accumulated to Dh 60,000. As he was not in a financial position to pay a huge fine, he sought help from the emigration authorities and applied for waiver of fine and pardon, which was rejected by the authorities.
Rajan had borrowed Dh12,000 from a money lender in Ajman. Visas of the family members had expired some time ago but could not be renewed because Rajan’s passport had been pledged with Sharjah Emigration.
The company’s licence became problematic and the sponsor’s account with the emigration authorities got blocked. The sponsor promised to clear everything but nothing happened in four months. Later, he changed the sponsorship to his brother’s company. “Problems awaited us there too and there was an emigration fine of Dh40,000, which I tried to pay by bringing money from home,” Rajan said.
However, the block could not be removed. The family needed help from Sharjah Emigration to waive off the huge fine of Dh 60,000.
But after Pushpakaran stepped in, the family’s financial problems were solved to some extent. At least, it enabled a deeply distressed housewife and her two young children to reach home safely.