Two Indian survivors of a fire at a Bahraini labour camp in which 16 Indian workers perished, have been sent back to India without full settlement of their dues.
Velmurugan Kumaraswamy and Ravi Muthuswamy were each paid only 60 Bahraini dinars (BD) by the Bahrain-based Royal Tower Construction Company for their tickets up to Mumbai. They had to pay an extra BD30 each from their own pocket to buy tickets up to their home in Chennai, according to news reports.
The two had earlier been kept for a night at the Riffa Police station in Manama after the company accused them of instigating other workers not to work. Later the Indian embassy had to intervene for their release.
According to Raghunathan, second secretary in the Indian mission in Bahrain, the company paid the workers only part of their salary for July and August. "However, the workers insisted they wanted to go home, and we asked the company to make arrangements for their travel," he said.
"It is sad that the company refused to give them their full dues as well as a ticket up to their hometown. We shall continue our talks with the labour ministry to ensure that justice is done in the case of others," Raghunathan added.
Murugan told Bahrain Tribune: "I plan to start a small business in India and am optimistic of receiving a loan from a bank. I do not want to return to Bahrain any time again."
The general secretary of the Coordination Committee of Indian Associations (CCIA), John Iype, said 10 more workers of the company are keen to go home. "We have asked the company to send them home after paying all their dues," he added.
"I wanted to work for a different sponsor in Bahrain but was told I couldn't do that since my sponsor would not allow me. I will try to return if I can," Ravi said.
In the July 30 blaze, the worst fire accident in Bahrain, 16 Indian workers of the Royal Construction Company died in the Gudaibiya labour camp.
The company's workers collected a total of BD 1,444 for the families of the workers who died in the accident after the Bahraini firm failed to pay any kind of compensation for the victims.