THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The NORKA-Roots will commence registration to identify the beneficiaries of the free-ticket scheme announced by the state government for non-resident Keralites (NRKs) who could not visit their homes for the last five years.
NORKA Minister K.C. Joseph said that the beneficiaries would be shortlisted on the basis of the duration of their coming home. Those who could not visit their homes for the longest duration would be given priority.
The online application for registration is being developed and it is likely to be launched by Tuesday, said NORKA-Roots chief executive officer R.S. Kannan. It will be linked to NORKA-Roots portal ‘www.norkaroots.net’.
“Those who want to avail of the scheme themselves could register or Malayali organisations of NRKs could do it. The facts would be verified by checking their passports and other documents,” said Mr. Joseph.
There will be no deadline for registrations or any age-bars. “At present we do not have any idea of the number of NRKs who could not visit home for quite a long time. Hence further decision on the scheme could be taken only after considering the response,” said Mr. Joseph.
The government had also initiated talks with some airlines on offering free tickets. The scope of operating a chartered flight was also under consideration.
Meanwhile, sources in the airline sector said that a major chunk of those who could not visit home for long years might have been stranded owing to legal issues in foreign countries.
“During lean seasons, the airlines offer tickets at cheap rates and hence even the low income groups could manage to come home,” said an airline official.