A phone call from 40-year-old Paramjit in Libya on Wednesday left his family in this village in horror. He was among nearly 100 Punjabis held in “bondage” by a company that gave them food and water that was barely enough to survive.
The desperate Indians have also managed to send a fax message to Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, pleading for rescue and release of their pending wages for four months from Al Eklel Construction Company of Libya.
Denied extension of work visa, the workers’ passports are in the possession of the company, which is also refusing to let them work for any other firm. They were brought to Libya in 2009.
Paramjit’s father Lal Chand (57) said his son had gone to Libya through a Kala Sanghian based agent in January 2009 with specific promise of work, wages and visa extension. But after nine months, no work was offered to Paramjit and the rest of the Indians. He alleged they had paid Rs 1.20 lakh to the agent to send Paramjit abroad.
Paramjit’s son Amit, a Class XI student, said: “My father said the company does not even allow them sufficient food and water to survive, and they are not allowed to leave the company’s residential premises. They have neither been given work nor wages for the past four months, and the company is also not releasing their passports.”
“My father has asked us to raise the issue with the state government for help,” the boy said.
Ramoowalia said he had written to the Indian Embassy in Libya regarding the 116 workers, including a few Rajasthanis. He promised the LBP would resolve the issue soon.