Thiruvananthapuram, June 24 (IANS) The Indian government was Saturday urged to restore emigration services in Kerala that have come to a virtual standstill after a crackdown on alleged malpractices.
The Overseas Recruitment Travel Agents Association (ORTAS) and the Pravasi Development Society announced they would march to the state assembly Monday to demand that normal operations resume at the Protector of Emigrants Office (POE).
The office used to process some 800 applications every day but this has come down to two dozen after a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) this month and the seizure of incriminating documents pertaining to fraudulent clearances granted by the office at the behest of some travel agents.
Following the raid, the government suspended two emigration officers – Surya Rao and Inder Sain Sharma – for "abusing their official position".
The CBI has also booked Jasu Amirtham, managing partner of Mangalam Travels and Tours, and A.L. Rajeev, proprietor of Alpe International, Thiruvananthapuram, for the same offences.
Emigration clearances are necessary for those who have not passed the Class 12 examination and want to go to the Middle East for employment.
"Normally around 800 clearances are granted every. After the raid, it has come down to around two dozen. Several people who have valid visas to work in Middle East countries are now stranded," ORTAS president A.K. Nazimudeen told reporters.
"We want the government to immediately revert to the emigration rules that were in force till November 2003, giving the recruiting agency full responsibility of issuing necessary documents to those wanting to go abroad," said K. Ravindran, president of the Chamber of Manpower Exports.