UP wooing expatriates with 'Discover your Roots' scheme

UP wooing expatriates with 'Discover your Roots' scheme

The 'Discover your Roots' scheme, launched on the directives of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, has so far located the native places of at least 20 people who had migrated at the end of the 18th and beginning of 19th century, mostly as indentured labourers to Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago.

Neeraj Pahuja, who looks after the scheme in the department, said that the latest to be helped by the department find his roots in a nondescript village in Basti is Sarran Ramautor from Trinidad, who was united with his distant relatives in Adampur village on Novemebr 13.

Ramautor and his son had been trying to reach their relatives since 1995 but it was only this September that they sought the help of the department after seeing the details of the scheme available on the website and for identification presented an immigration pass of his forefather Autar, who had migrated as "girmitiya labourer" through Kolkata, Pahuja said.
Besides putting the details of the scheme on the department's website, the tourism department has also entered into a tie up with the embassies of these countries as there is a growing interest among the third or fourth generation of the expatriates who want to visit the place of their origins.

Those seeking the help of the service have to submit a fee of USD 150 besides some identification like an old letter, school certificate or immigration receipt which could provide some kind of lead to locate the place, Pahuja said.

Most of the applicants are the descendants of the people hailing from the various eastern districts of the state and only yesterday the department had received an inquiry for finding a remote place in or around Patna in Bihar, he said, adding that with the permission of senior officials he might offer help as no such facility is available in that state.
The department's task is not just limited to locating the villages, it also helps them plan and arrange their visit besides its staff also accompanies them on arrival to overcome language related problems.

Pahuja said that all immigrants who have discovered their roots have also expressed their desire to contribute towards the development of their villages.

Though the scheme was launched in 2003, it has recently generated a lot of interest among the migrants after some families were successfully reunited.

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