Acting quickly after a news published in The Times of India reported about how some workers from Uttar Pradesh have been duped and are forced to live on a bus in Dubai, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj seems to have taken stock of the matter and has directed Indian embassy in Dubai to help them.
These workers reportedly were brought to Dubai two months ago. However, they were duped by a travel agent who promised them lucrative jobs.
The agency charged them Rs 60,000 to Rs 70000 each for visas and when they reached Dubai, their agent escaped and left them in a lurch.
Hearing about their plight, Swaraj tweeted that she will not only ask the Indian embassy in Dubai to help them out but will also ask the UP government to register a case against the agent.
I will ask UP Government to register a case against this unscrupulous agent. Our Embassy will help in Dubai. @eclipse1947
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 21, 2015
Many of the stranded workers have given up their life savings for this trip, with one, Bhuvneshwar Misra, of Deoria, even having sold his ancestral land and mother’s jewellery to get the job visa.
All the stranded workers belong to eastern Uttar Pradesh and for the past fifteen days had been spending their nights in a bus on the outskirts of Dubai. After looking at their condition, few Indian expats gave them accommodation this Sunday.
Talking about this, the stranded workers told TOI:
“We were assured a pay scale of anything between 2,000 to 4,000 dirhams (Rs 36,000 to Rs 72,000) depending on our skills and qualification. But once we reached here, the ground realities were completely different. Here we worked as construction workers and the living conditions were unbearable.”
The group further told them that soon after reaching Dubai, their agent Qasr Al-Ameer disappeared.
After the construction site they were working at (near the Fujairah-Oman border) forced them to vacate their residential accommodation, they shifted to Dubai and were left with no option but to live in a company bus.
The workers couldn’t travel back to India as the company had taken away their passports and it was only after 15 days that help came in form of NRIs Girish Pant and Juhi Khan, who have been looking after them since last week.
It was Pant who approached the external affairs ministry to help the workers return and fashion designer Juhi Khan who is coordinating with the workers and the Indian consulate to get their documents processed.
This is not the first incident that has come to light with regards to Indians facing exploitation in the Gulf, and according to Swaraj, a total of 7,432 complaints of exploitation have been reported by Indian Workers in Gulf.