Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh is leaving for Saudi on Tuesday night to assess the ground situation of Indian labourers.
“MoS VK Singh is leaving for Jeddah tonight via Dubai. His on ground assessment will determine future course of action,” said MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
Singh is expected to meet officials of Labour Ministry and Foreign Ministry in Jeddah to make arrangements for evacuation of Indians starving in the financial hit country.
Singh’s visit will bring in clarity on the evacuation as the Indian Embassy in Saudi needs permission of the employer to issue emergency visa’s for stranded labourers.
“The government has requested the Saudi authorities to give them exit visas without NoC from employers and also urged it to clear the dues of workers who have not been paid for months, whenever they settle the accounts with the companies concerned,” said Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha.
Indian Embassy in Riyadh formed a team which is separately working in Dammam. The team is collecting Information about each worker, about his total service, pending salary, and desire to exit or continue in separate forms.
“Indian Embassy in Riyadh convened meeting of community social workers & volunteers yesterday. The Ambassador apprised them of ongoing problems faced by Indian workers & sought help in collecting info about affected workers,” said MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup
Mean while another Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar met with Saudi Ambassador to India Dr. Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati and held discussions.
“Glad to receive support and assurances from Saudi government to resolve all outstanding issues, including that of our Indian labourers,” said MoS MEA M J Akbar.
Ambassador Al Sati assured India that Saudi will do all the needful.
“Necessary assistance continues to be provided to our distressed citizens with the heartening support of Indian community in Saudi Arabia,” said the Ambassador.
More than 10 thousand Indians who lost their jobs after major construction companies closed down following the fall of oil prices.
“3,172 Indian workers in Riyadh have not been paid their salary dues for several months. Other 2,450 Indian workers belonging to the Saudi Oger Company are housed in five camps in Jeddah, Mecca and Taif. Since July 25, the company had stopped providing meals to the workers besides defaulting on their salaries,” said MEA Officials.
Friday onwards, Indian Embassy in Jeddah has been providing food for people living in five construction site camps.
On Monday External Affairs Sushma Swaraj assured the Parliament that no Indian worker will strarve in Saudi Arabia and government will do its best to get those workers their payment dues.
“Not one worker of ours will go hungry. This is my assurance to the country through Parliament… We will bring all of them back to India,” Swaraj said