Vakwady Praveen Kumar Shetty of Fortune Group of Hotels has booked a flight to ferry his employees and labourers, who are in distress due to Covid 19 crisis, to their native places.
As many as 178 labourers from Mangaluru, Udupi, Kundapura, and Kasargod, who are stranded in Dubai, will land at Mangalore International Airport (MIA) on June 1 at 2 pm. Shetty who has booked an entire flight will incur an expenditure of Rs 38 lakh.
“Our group of seven hotels has over 800 employees from Karnataka and other states. These hotels had not witnessed any business for the past three months. There were no customers even after the lockdown was lifted. As a result, the employees on leave without work had to be sent back to their villages,” Shetty said.
The entrepreneur said if employees stayed back in Dubai, then their lodging and food expenses would pose a huge burden on them. Though there was no work, the employees have been paid one month’s salary. About 500 employees, who had expressed their wish to return to their native villages, are being sent back by the company, he said.
“There are no options but to help those who are in distress,” Shetty said and added that after returning they would be in institutional quarantine for seven days. Already two hotels in Udupi and one in Mangaluru have been booked for Institutional quarantine, he added.
"The repatriates will pay Rs 7,000 each for their stay in the hotels during quarantine period," he added.
Shetty hails from Vakwady in Kundapura taluk and has been running seven Fortune Group of Hotels in Dubai for many years. He is also serving as the president of Karnataka NRI Forum-UAE.
Appeal for permission
Altaf Ullal and Basheer Sagar, who had distributed food kits to the labourers stranded in Gulf countries during lockdown, are making arrangements to help labourers return to Mangaluru in a flight. The duo are being supported by Asif Deals of Be Human organisation.
Around 290 persons had approached the entrepreneurs seeking their assistance to travel to their native villages.
Accordingly, 179 people, including pregnant women and those in distress, will be sent back to Mangaluru in the first phase.
"We have sought permission from Embassy at Dammam for their travel. Once we get permission from Ministry of External Affairs, then they will be sent back to Mangaluru. An expenditure to the tune of Rs 56 lakh is being incurred for bringing back 179 people. Even the quarantine expenses will be borne by the entrepreneurs. Once Centre gives permission, the timing of the flight will be fixed," Asif Deals stated.