Dubai: A semi-paralysed Indian expat, who claims to have landed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a wooden catamaran 52 years ago, was seeking repatriation during the coronavirus pandemic, a media report said on Monday.
K. Raghavan, 79, who once ran two tailoring shops in Dubai and a trading company in Ajman, had been unable to fly home due to the fines he incurred after his business went bust, said the Gulf News report.
Now living in a cramped room in Dubai, Raghavan said he had lost everything that he had earned by the time he fell sick with an ulcer and was eventually left semi-paralysed.
His visa expired three years ago and could not renew it as he has a liability of more than 60,000 dirhams in fines, in cases related to non-payment of rent and defaulting license renewals filed by the Ajman Free Zone.
"I wouldn't have had this liability if my relative, who was taking care of the Ajman business, had not ditched me without making the payments," Raghavan told Gulf News on Sunday.
He said he had owed another 140,000 dirhams to Dubai Hospital where he was treated.
However, he was discharged following a request from the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
Raghavan said he had been struggling to survive as he has to spend money on medicines, apart from his accommodation, food and other regular expenses.
The elderly man is totally dependent on his wife Sarojini, 65, who was brought over on a visit visa by some well-wishers, after he was discharged from the hospital.
The couple was now pinning their hopes on the few social workers and community members who have been campaigning for their repatriation.
"A few months ago, he had to be hospitalised again. We all helped him pay 7,000 dirhams in bills while the private hospital waived an equal amount on our request. They will need support even after reaching Kerala. We are all trying to support them," a community member told Gulf News.
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