Dubai: A stranded Indian visitor for 14 years in the UAE is finally returning home on September 26.
Baskari Raghavlu, 41, hailing from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, will be seeing his daughter for the first time in his life as his wife was pregnant when he first came to the UAE. Thanks to the efforts of a social worker in the UAE, his fines of over half a million (Dh511,200) have also been waived off, paving the way for his exit.
“I cannot wait to see my family,” he told Gulf News. “Life has been such a big struggle. At one point, I had given up on myself.” Raghavlu came to the UAE on a visit in 2006. “At the time, my wife was pregnant with our first child. We decided that I should leave India and come work in the UAE so that we can give our child a good life. The aim was to save money and live our dream back home. Who knew I would not get a chance to meet my child for 14 long years?”
Soon after he landed in the UAE, tragedy struck.Raghavlu was injured in a road accident while travelling in his company vehicle. The accident left injuries to his hand, leg and neck. For four years, he tried to get compensation from the company where he worked. He even hired a lawyer, who took his passport. “I don’t know where the lawyer is and where my passport went. And all this happened in a month’s time of my coming to the UAE. I did not know where to seek help. I kept waiting for the lawyer to help me out,” Raghavlu said.
In order to sustain himself, Raghavlu said he did some odd jobs. “This way, I was able to send home some money every month to my family. But I have not been able to do that in the last three years.” He said during one of the amnesty programmes by the UAE government, Raghavlu managed to secure an outpass to leave the country, but did not have money for his flight ticket.
“My struggles continued. It was difficult for me to find a proper job. Finally I met a social worker recently who agreed to help me.” Lawyer and social worker Sheela Thomas said she found Raghavlu in a desperate state. “He was struggling for accommodation. He was living off the generosity of some other blue collar workers. Raghavlu looked tough on the outside but on the inside, he was an emotional wreck. He just wanted to return home and see his daughter for the first time in his life. I then took up his case.”
Thomas said Raghavlu’s overstay fines have been cleared and he is set to fly home in two days. She said she bought a ticket for him for a flight to Mumbai on September 26.