A bus journey from Sonapur, in the outskirts of Dubai, to the labour courts, in the city, costs just a few dirhams.
But for Jagannathan Selvaraj, an Indian expat who lives in a public park, shelling out dirhams for a bus ride every fortnight was not an option.
Two years back, his mother died. But he was denied permission to fly back home to attend her funeral in Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu - his hometown. He knocked labour court’s door seeking justice.
Thus began the 48-year-old man’s journeys to the court.
For the next two years, Selvaraj covered the 50 km journey, to and fro, from his accommodation to Karama district in Dubai, on foot.
“My case number was 826 and I had to walk 2 hours in the morning to reach the court in Dubai. I used to get up early morning at 4am on the days the court was to hear my case. Every 15 days, I had to walk all the way to the court because I did not have the money to pay for bus or taxi,” he told Khaleej Times.
He braved traffic, heat, sandstorms and exhaustion as he walked for four hours through the busy highways of Dubai once every fortnight.
“I used to start early in the mornings when it was less hot. From Sonapur, I would walk to Al Qusais, then Al Nahda, the Airport Free Zone and from there on to Karama. I did not have money to buy a bus ticket or take the Metro. Nobody helped me, but I must have attended the court at least 20 times during the two years,” Khaleej Times quoted him as saying.
“He wants a ticket to go home. All his friends who were living in the park have gone home. He cannot walk all the way to India, and needs just a plane ticket to go home,” said a social worker who is trying to help Selvaraj told the Khaleej Times.