Indian migrants stuck in Kuwait due to unpaid phone bills


Hyderabad:  Amnesty period for illegal and overstaying Indian immigrants in Kuwait to return to their homeland will end in a month from now, but many workers are stuck with little hope due to travel bans imposed against them.

Arumulla Narayana of Lingampet and Marikanti Mahesh of Karimnagar are among the worst sufferers. They were banned from travelling to their native place after their luggage was checked in at Kuwait Airport about 20 days ago.

According to activists, the ban was imposed on them because their mobile bills were pending. They were expected to appear in court to resolve that issue. Now, their luggage, which is their only belongings in that country, has gone missing.  Social activists say Indian labourers defaulting on mobile bills is a common issue in Kuwait.

It’s primarily because they cannot afford to pay the amount. This also often becomes a barrier for them to return home despite the amnesty period.

“Workers in Kuwait buy mobile phones with the approval of their employer, but often it becomes a nightmare for the workers and also translates into a travel ban,” says Kuwait-based activist Murlidhar Reddy.

Arumulla Narayana says, “Finally, cases against me over unpaid mobile bills have been sorted. But now, cost of tickets to return home has risen steeply. In fact, it’s triple the average cost. With all my belongings gone, I am struggling to even survive here. I have to try find work in some hotel for a few days. Otherwise, I will be stranded without food and accommodation,”. Returning home would be impossible if State or Central government does not come forward to help him.

Mahesh says he’s hesitant to ask help from his family as he is already not able to save enough to support them. “The travel ban and loss of luggage was a too much for a poor worker like me.” The expatriate community in Kuwait has written to Telangana government seeking funds to help the duo return home.


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