The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to provide air tickets to stranded Malayalees in violence-hit cities of Iraq to enable their safe return to the state.
Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting which discussed the issue, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that as per reports, most of the Keralites were willing to return.
However, the main problem was transporting them safely from the places they were staying to the airport, amid the fighting that was still continuing in that country, he said.
He said Kerala had requested the Union government to bear the cost of bringing back the stranded Malayalees and if this was not possible, the state government would meet the expense.
"I have sent letters to the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister, informing them about the same. The state government is ready to provide air tickets to those wanting to come back," he said.
The CM said some Malayalees in Baghdad are prepared to reach the airport and all they needed was tickets, which the state government would provide online. The Central government has sent a senior official to help the Ambassador tackle the situation there, he said.
Yesterday, Non-Keralites Residents Affairs Minister KC Joseph had informed the Assembly that the government was ready to bear expenses to bring back Keralites stranded in violence hit cities in Iraq if the Centre was unwilling to meet the same.
He had also said the state government was in touch with the Indian embassy in Iraq and the Centre from the day the turmoil started.