The workers returned to India after a construction company they were working at shut down, and they forced to live in poor conditions in Saudi.

102 Telangana workers repatriated to India from Saudi 2 months ago await rehabilitationFile image
news Labour rights Friday, August 16, 2019 - 18:03

Over two months after their repatriation from Saudi Arabia, 102 migrant labourers from Telangana have sought information from state government under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking details about rehabilitation measures.

Speaking to TNM, one of the migrant labours who filed the RTI application said, “It’s been close to two months since we have come here. We have reached out to the government about our ordeal, and requested for rehabilitation last month, but we haven’t seen any action being taken.”

Of the 102 workers who moved the labour court in Saudi Arabia, 39 were brought back to India in June this year following the combined efforts of the state and union government. Some of them had already returned to India before June, and the rest came back after.

The workers, with the help of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) India, filed a case alleging violation of their contract in the court. They said that the construction company that had recruited them had suddenly closed down in 2018, leaving them in deplorable living conditions – they had to live in rooms without light and food for over eight months, without salaries. 

The labour court in Saudi Arabia at that time had asked the company to clear their pending wages in a given time, and also ordered for the issue of exit visas for repatriating them to India.

In July, a month after their repatriation, they reached out to Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao seeking rehabilitation either by giving them jobs in any non-governmental organisation or by providing subsidised bank loans. However, no action has been taken so far.

A worker who has filed the RTI said, "We all got into debt as we went to the Gulf. Now, most of us are below the poverty line or landless. Financiers are also after us. We hope the government will soon rehabilitate us.”

The RTI application which was addressed to the Public Information Officer of the Chief Secretary of the state government said, “102 returnee migrant workers from Saudi Arabia along with me submitted a memorandum to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana seeking financial help and rehabilitation on 16.07.2019. Please provide me file notings and 'action taken' report on this application along with your reply.”

Mandha Bheem Reddy, President, Emigrants Welfare Forum, said, "There should be a permanent return and rehabilitation policy for Gulf returnees. Rehabilitation and reintegration are the responsibility of the state government. Yearly budgetary allocations for the same are also needed.”

The northern part of Telangana which has Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Adilabad districts, has a high number of such cases. Activists estimate that at least 10,000 people are travelling to Gulf countries in search of employment every year from Hyderabad airport alone.

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