Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh tourism department
is wooing tourists not only with picturesque locales and
heritage sites but also helping descendants of expatriates
locate their native places through a scheme to discover their
The `Discover your Roots` scheme, launched on the
directives of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, has so
far located the native places of at least 20 people who had
migrated at the end of the 18th and beginning of 19th century,
mostly as indentured labourers to Mauritius, South Africa,
Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago.
Neeraj Pahuja, who looks after the scheme in the
department, told reporters that the latest to be helped by the
department find his roots in a nondescript village in Basti is
Sarran Ramautor from Trinidad, who was united with his distant
relatives in Adampur village on Novemebr 13.
Ramautor and his son had been trying to reach their
relatives since 1995 but it was only this September that they
sought the help of the department after seeing the details of
the scheme available on the website and for identification
presented an immigration pass of his forefather Autar, who
had migrated as "girmitiya labourer" through Kolkata, Pahuja
Besides putting the details of the scheme on the
department`s website, the tourism department has also entered
into a tie up with the embassies of these countries as there
is a growing interest among the third or fourth generation of
the expatriates who want to visit the place of their origins.
Those seeking the help of the service have to submit a
fee of USD 150 besides some identification like an old letter,
school certificate or immigration receipt which could provide
some kind of lead to locate the place, Pahuja said.
Most of the applicants are the descendants of the
people hailing from the various eastern districts of the state
and only yesterday the department had received an inquiry for
finding a remote place in or around Patna in Bihar, he said,
adding that with the permission of senior officials he might
offer help as no such facility is available in that state.
The department`s task is not just limited to locating
the villages, it also helps them plan and arrange their visit
besides its staff also accompanies them on arrival to overcome
language related problems.
Pahuja said that all immigrants who have discovered
their roots have also expressed their desire to contribute
towards the development of their villages.
Though the scheme was launched in 2003, it has
recently generated a lot of interest among the migrants after
some families were successfully reunited.