Centre to bring back stranded Indians in Saudi Arabia

Union Minster of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd) VK Singh to visit Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for evacuating unemployed Indians numbering over 3,000. - Sakshi Post

New Delhi: Union Minster of State for External Affairs VK Singh will visit Riyadh to bring back thousands of stranded Indians. As part of the tour, Singh will make an on-the-spot assessment of the ground situation for a possible evacuation of thousands. The Centre is concerned over the crisis over laid-off Indian workers in Saudi Arabia. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured that none of the unemployed in Saudi Arabia will go hungry as the government is taking measures to ensure food is served in labour camps in addition to taking care of other needs.

Answering a question on plight of Indians in Saudi Arabia during the Rajya Sabha session, Sushma Swaraj said she was sending Gen (Retd) Singh on Tuesday, even as the government ensured free rations to 2,450 workers of the Saudi Oger company stranded in camps in Jeddah.

Answering a question on plight of Indians in Saudi Arabia during the Rajya Sabha session, Sushma Swaraj said she was sending Gen (Retd) Singh on Tuesday, even as the government ensured free rations to 2,450 workers of the Saudi Oger company stranded in camps in Jeddah.

“If any Indian worker abroad is unemployed, he will not sleep hungry,” Swaraj said. “The government takes full responsibility to feed them. If they get another job, that is fine, but if they want to return home, then I assure you we will bring them home.”

The Department of Non-resident Keralites Affairs (NoRKA) has taken the initial steps to facilitate the return of Keralites stranded in various camps in Saudi Arabia following loss of employment, besides ensuring recovery of their wage arrears.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the Secretary, Non- Residents Keralites Affairs Department and the Resident Commissioner in Delhi to get into the loop of coordination activity along with the External Affairs Ministry to bring back Indian nationals, including Keralites, many of whom are starving.

Officials in Jeddah and Riyadh say that by an initial assessment, the total number of Indians who may require assistance is 10,000, but the numbers may swell as the government’s plans crystallise. During the past two years, Saudi Arabia is witnessing increased layoffs sharply after the drop in oil prices that puts the economy in trouble.

It’s estimated that the number of stranded Indians is 3,172 in Riyadh who were being fed at their work camps. These workers so far have not received salaries for several months. Officials in Jeddah and Riyadh say that by an initial assessment, the total number of Indians who may require assistance is 10,000, but the numbers may swell as the government’s plans crystallise.
During the past two years, Saudi Arabia is witnessing increased layoffs sharply after the drop in oil prices that puts the economy in trouble. This is resulting in a major downturn in funding for infrastructure projects where Indians are employed.



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