Harassed by Saudi firm, 1,000 Indian workers to return home
Minister of state for external affairs VK Singh’s timely intervention has paved way for the safe return of about 1,000 Indian workers who were allegedly being harassed by a private construction company in Saudi Arabia.punjab Updated: Oct 28, 2016 15:46 IST
Minister of state for external affairs VK Singh’s timely intervention has paved way for the safe return of about 1,000 Indian workers who were allegedly being harassed by a private construction company in Saudi Arabia.
However, these workers will return empty-handed as their employer, Saad Group, has refused to pay their salaries and other benefits for the past several months.
Talking to Hindustan Times from the industrial city of Dammam in Saudi Arabia, Veer Singh, who belongs to Yamunanagar, said, “VK Singh had come here and taken up the matter with the labour ministry of Saudi Arabia. Now the Indian embassy here will provide us visas to return to India. Most of the workers will hopefully reach India around Diwali.”
Veer Singh, who moved to Saudi Arabia around five years ago, along with his Yamunanagar based friend Suresh Kumar, on a work permit, will be returning without any money. He alleged that the company did not provide them the salary and other benefits for the past ten months.
“The construction company owes around Rs 32 crore to 1,000 workers which they have refused to pay us. Now, we have to return without money,” he said.
He added, “We have filed a case in a labour court of Saudi Arabia. Officials of the Indian embassy told us that they will send the money into our accounts, if the court decision comes in our favour.”
Meanwhile, parents of Veer Singh are waiting eagerly for his return even as they resent that he is returning empty-handed after a hard work of several years.
“My son will be coming back after five years, but without any money as his company did not pay his salary for the past 10 months. The workers did not even get food and other benefits from the company,” said Gurnam Singh, father of Veer Singh.
“Union minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj ji should take up this issue with the government of Saudi Arabia”, he demanded. The construction company had not renewed their identity cards, which are mandatory to go outside the factory, for the past ten months.
Veer Singh said they had filed a police complaint against the company and also approached the labour court and the Indian embassy, following which Sushma Swaraj had intervened in the matter. On October 20, Swaraj tweeted, “Indian workers in Saad group will start returning home today. My colleague @GenVKSingh is in Saudi Arabia to accomplish this task.”