Vayalar Ravi, the Federal Indian Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, said categorically yesterday that he "did not approve" of the airfare hike.
Speaking to Khaleej Times over the telephone from India, he said he will discuss this issue with his ministerial colleague and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, as soon as the latter returns to New Delhi from an overseas trip.
Strongly critical of the airfare hike, which he admitted was "mere exploitation", he added, "We will discuss the matter at the ministerial level and find a solution. I am sure the two ministries can work together to solve the issue."
"The high airfares is one of the main problems NRIs have been facing for a long time. Unfortunately it has remained unsolved. I am concerned about this problem,” Ravi said, adding, his ministry will make all possible efforts to resolve this issue.
He said he has received several complaints from NRIs in the Gulf region in this connection. "I know that Indian expatriates, especially those in the low-income group, are struggling to meet two ends meet in the Gulf under changing living conditions. The recent fare hike is an extra burden on their shoulders," he said.
"The recent hike in airfare by the Indian carriers in particular cannot be justified because of the upcoming school vacation when the demand for seats on the Gulf-India sector is at its peak, the minister said, pointing out that most families who can only travel around this time of the year will be adversely affected. The ministry is concerned about NRIs and we will try to resolve the problem as early as possible," he pointed out.