Pune: About 186 Maharashtrian workers stranded in Dubai heaved a sigh of relief as they landed at Mumbai airport with smiling faces and tearful eyes. These workers are from all regions of the state and are now sent in quarantine facilities.
Some of these workers had to take shelter in public parks in Dubai as they were unable to pay their house rents. Some had lost family members back in India due to the pandemic, but were unable to even attend the funeral rites. Someone’s wife was admitted to hospital, someone’s children were home quarantined. Dhananjay Datar, a businessman from Dubai also known as ‘Masala King’ had sponsored all travel expenses of these workers. As of now he has helped 3,000 needy Indians stranded in Dubai to return to India.
Datar said, “Post lockdown, the air traffic between UAE and India resumed almost immediately but flights from Dubai to Mumbai started only recently. That is why 65,000 Indians from Maharashtra including workers, students, tourists etc. are still stranded in Dubai and awaiting to avail the flight booking early as possible. Of these, the penniless workers who lost their jobs are suffering more. Until now we had provided free food and medical kits to thousands of needy families in Dubai, but when we realised that there were hundreds of jobless and empty-pocketed workers who were in dire need, our company decided to sponsor their travel and medical test expenditure.”
“It was a challenge for us to select the really needy people from a list of 2,000 applicants. We preferred workers who were previously earning a monthly salary below 2,000 Dirham and lost their jobs during the pandemic. We approached Maharashtra government and Ministry of External Affairs for their permissions, coordinated with Indian Consulate in UAE, followed all legal frameworks of both countries and communicated with the airline for arranging a chartered flight,” he added.