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Coronavirus: Community helps abandoned workers fly home – News

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One of the affected workers, 26-year-old Ranjit Kumar Swain, lamented how their employer left them in the lurch.

Seventeen workers who had been stranded in Dubai without salaries will finally be flying home, thanks to the efforts of community group Odisha Samaj UAE and the Indian consulate.

Speaking to Khaleej Times about the workers’ plight, Amiya Kumar Mishra, president of Odisha Samaj UAE, said: “We were informed about the workers’ conditions a month ago, when they ran out of food supplies after living without salaries for the last three months. We escalated the matter to the Indian consulate, which took charge of the situation and provided the workers with supplies.”

Mishra added that matters took a turn for the worse when the workers faced eviction from their landlord over non-payment of rent.

“Since the workers had not received their salaries, they couldn’t pay their room rent. The landlord switched off their electricity and water supplies and asked them to vacate the room after allowing them to stay there for around a month without rent. The workers then spent a day under the tree with their luggage, before a team from Odiya Samaj and the Indian consulate rescued them and found them another accommodation.”

The mission then made arrangements for the workers’ accommodation in Satwa.

Neeraj Agarwal, Consul for Press, information, and culture at the Consulate-General of India in Dubai, told Khaleej Times: “Out of the 17 workers, 16 are from Odisha and one is from Uttar Pradesh. As soon as we learnt that they were left without salaries, we started supplying them with rations regularly. But around 20 days ago, we learnt that they had been evicted from their rooms, so we made arrangements for their lodging in Satwa.

“Since they did not have kitchen facility at their new lodging, we started sending them three cooked meals a day. We have also arranged for their outpass and air tickets and they are all set to fly home on October 9 by Air India Express.”

One of the affected workers, 26-year-old Ranjit Kumar Swain, lamented how their employer left them in the lurch.

“When we demanded the company to return our passports, we were told that our company owner is absconding. He sent us a message that we need to submit around Dh3,000 each to get our passports back,” Ranjit said.

“From June onwards, we were not give our monthly salary – Dh1,430 per month – which is why we were not even able to afford three meals a day. How would we give the owner Dh3,000? The company owner, who we hear has fled to India, refused to release our passports and we had no means of returning to our country.”

Ranjit said he and his colleagues, who are in the age group of 22 to 40, are extremely grateful for the help that Odisha Samaj UAE and the Indian consulate have given them.

“We are so happy that, finally, we will be going back to our families. Most of us haven’t informed our loved ones of our tough circumstances here,” he said.

saman@khaleejtimes.com 

 

 





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