//Concern over high rate of suicide among expatriates

Concern over high rate of suicide among expatriates

84 suicide cases reported among Indian expatriates in the UAE in 2005

# 70 suicide cases reported in 2004
# Majority of those who had committed suicide were from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
# Almost 40 per cent of those who had committed suicide were Keralites

KOZHIKODE: The Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust said here on Saturday that suicide cases among Indian expatriates in the Gulf had been increasing over the years.

Talking to reporters, K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman of the Trust, said 84 suicide cases had been reported among Indian expatriates in the UAE in 2005. It was 70 in the year 2004. The majority of persons committing suicide were from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Almost 40 per cent of those who had committed suicide were Keralites.

The Trust has also conducted a detailed study on the suicide issues among Indian expatriates in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, where the number of suicides was more than 250 in 2005.

Mr. Shamsudheen said workers from India who go to Gulf countries after paying anything between Rs.50,000 to Rs. 85,000 to agents for visit visa, realise their real salary package only when they reach there. Most of them would have raised this money by taking loans from individual lenders, who charge hefty interest of 100 per cent to 120 per cent per year.

This situation could create mental depression and stress among Indian expatriates in Gulf countries. He said the reasons for suicide include financial crisis, inability to pay back loan, bad living conditions, lack of health insurance, lack of moral support from friends and relatives, high air fare, dowry, alcoholism, etc.

The Trust has started a service called `Sandwanam' (consolation) to help people who are on the brink of this kind of crisis, with the cooperation of a wide network of volunteers and experts who speak different languages. The service was started in January 2006.

The Trust suggests certain measures to solve the problem of increasing suicides. They include awareness campaign in the country through print and electronic media to understand the real employment situation of GCC countries, stopping of huge service charge levied by agents for overseas jobs and introducing a system to attest all labour contracts with minimum salary and other benefits by Indian missions abroad.

He hoped that the new State Government would respond favourably to the various issues of Non-Resident Keralites. Details can be had on phone 9847080404.

http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/21/stories/2006052111520300.htm