Bengaluru, Jun 18: Responding to the calling attention motion raised by Mangalore South MLA J R Lobo drawing attention about the ongoing blockade of Qatar by neighbouring nations Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and others and its possible ramifications on sizeable Kannadiga populace in Qatar, chief minister Siddaramaiah has assured that, if the blockade snowballs further, the government is committed to these Kannadigas and that the Indian Embassy is all geared up to provide all possible help to these people.
It pertinent to note that despite severing of political and diplomatic relations with Qatar by a few neighbouring nations and blocking air, sea and land links, the government of Qatar has done yeoman’s efforts in ensuring the safety and welfare of all the expats working and living in Qatar by taking counter measures on war footing in order to keep the normal supply of food grains and other necessary items by opening up newer channels of supply without giving any opportunity to rise in prices of essential commodities. Over 2 million expats of various nationalities living in Qatar have vouched their support to Qatar as Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar and his government have taken sufficient measures to cast away any feeling of fear and uncertainty from the minds of the Qatar residents. Yet many fear of greater uncertainty and difficulties if the present stand-off continues for longer period.
Keeping this in mind, MLA J R Lobo who has visited Qatar a few times after being elected MLA and has initiated and coordinated various efforts that are of great benefit to NRIs, had requested CM Siddaramaiah to provide required help including rehabilitation, if required, through the NRI Forum set up for the purpose by the state government.
J R Lobo who is visibly concerned about the uncertainty and turmoil faced by Kannadigas in Qatar has also assured the various Kannada organisations in Qatar of his government rendering all possible help in this hour of crisis. As a first step towards this J R Lobo raised the issue in the state Assembly during the recently held monsoon session which was concluded on June 16.
In a calling attention motion, J R Lobo raised the issue of the uncertainty faced by Kannadigas working in Qatar and had requested CM Siddaramaiah to respond favourably to the needs of these Kannadigas, in case of any worst scenario. He requested the state government to provide rehabilitation, compensation and other necessary facilities through the NRI Forum set up by the state government to these people, if need arises.
Responding to the calling attention motion the chief minister assured that the government is committed to these Kannadigas and that the Indian Embassy is all geared up to provide all possible help to these people. In a written response in the form of a letter to J R Lobo to his call attention motion, Siddaramaiah assured that the state government has come out with a dedicated NRI Policy on January 1, 2017 and accordingly all facilitates will be given to Indians working in Qatar as and when required. In his letter the chief minister also said that the vice-president of NRI Forum of Karnataka has already got in touch with Indian Embassy in Qatar and the embassy has promised to accord all possible help to Indians in Qatar.
It may be recalled that as chairman of Backward Castes and Minority Community Welfare Committee J R Lobo had submitted the report to the chief minister and the same was presented in the state Assembly on February 7 and 9 this year. In the report J R Lobo had requested the government to allot Rs 50 crore for taking up various programmes and welfare measures for the NRIs of Karnataka as per the Kerala model. Responding to this request the government had allotted Rs 50 crore to the NRI forum in its budget for 2017-18.
J R Lobo has also assured the various Kannada organisations and individuals who called him following the crisis that the government is committed to ensure their safety and wellbeing and will do everything to deal with the crisis.
Qatar is a favorite destination for many Kannadigas especially those from the coastal regions of the state. More than 6 lac Indians are working in Qatar region and a sizeable of them are from Karnataka. Though the recent unexpected crisis has created panic amongst the expats, the initiatives and efforts by the Qatar government have proved that the Qatari Emir and government are committed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of each resident and that they will take care that the diplomatic and political crisis has minimum bearing on those who are working and living in Qatar.