Kerala minister KT Jaleel’s application for a diplomatic passport to visit Saudi Arabia was rejected by the external affairs ministry on Thursday. The local self government minister was planning to leave on Friday to meet the Indians stranded in the kingdom and co-ordinate the on-going efforts to provide help to 300-odd Keralites rendered jobless.
“I have no idea why my application was overlooked. I was deputed by the state government to co-ordinate the ongoing evacuation process. We are not in a race with anyone,” the minister said adding he was told by the ministry that there was nothing for him to do in Saudi now.
Left Front leaders criticised the MEA action, saying it was the NDA government’s ploy to take the full credit for the evacuation process.
“Usually diplomatic passports are issued within a few hours. But my plea was pending with the ministry for last two days. Our only aim was to help stranded. No politics is involved here,” the minister said adding he has done enough homework for the trip.
Minister of state for external affairs, VK Singh arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday on a mission to bring home 10,000 laid off Indian workers stranded in the kingdom without enough money for food or plane tickets.
A sharp drop in oil prices has led to a spending slowdown in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top exporter, and some construction firms that employ South Asian workers have fired their staff.
Earlier there were reports Saudi Arabia has expressed serious reservation over the Indian media and others, what it called, “overplaying some labour issues”.