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Saudis to deport 750 more Indians for overstaying

world Updated: Jun 07, 2007 13:44 IST

PTI
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Saudi Arabia is set to deport 750 more Indians found overstaying in the kingdom on pilgrim visas even as the Indian consulate in Jeddah has set up a special cell to facilitate the repatriation of the illegal migrants.

Earlier this week, Saudi authorities had deported 1,000 Indians for overstaying.

Currently there are 350 Indian detainees in the Tarheel Deportation Centre in Jeddah and another 350 at the temporary shelter of Madinat-ul Hujjaj, Indian Consul General Ausaf Sayeed told PTI over phone from Jeddah.

An unspecified number of Indian overstayers, who have converged here from far-off places in the central and eastern provinces of the Kingdom, are also taking shelter under various over-bridges in Jeddah, he said adding the number of those people are estimated at 1,000.

About 750 Indian overstayers would be shortly deported, he said.

He said Consulate officials are in regular touch with the Saudi authorities concerned in an effort to ensure speedy repatriation of all these Indian Umrah overstayers.

The Indian Consulate in Jeddah has also set up a Special Umrah Overstayers Cell (SUOC) as well as a 24-hour Help Line is also available to the Umra Overstayers.

He said all those Umrah overstayers, who have proof of Umrah visit, proof of Indian nationality and the means to pay for their travel back to India can contact this cell.

The cell, in consultation with the Saudi authorities, can help arrange for early departure of such persons.

Saudi Arabia recently issued a two-month amnesty for those overstaying their Haj and Umrah visas. The amnesty began on April 2 and ended on June 1.

The Consulate facilitated the repatriation of over 1,000 illegal Umra overstayers last week.

The consulate has been providing the Umrah overstayers interned at the Madinatul Hujjaj with food and water from the Indian Workers Welfare Fund (IWWF) with the assistance of some voluntary organizations and philanthropic individuals.

Senior Saudi officials have been in consultations over the past week with Indian consular officials to find a solution to the problem of Indians pouring into the Kingdom on Umrah visas in order to find work.

Haj Minister Fouad Al-Farsy discussed the issue with Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed when he met him for the signing of the Haj agreement last month.

Last year, the Indian Consulate issued about 25,000 emergency certificates to its nationals. These certificates are required before deportation.