In a revelation that may put the Kolkata Municipal Corporation officials in a spot,it has been found that several people whose name figure in a list of those brought back home from Saudi Arabia after the imposition of Nitaqat (labour) law in that country,never actually returned.
The KMC claims to have brought back at least 126 such migrants from Saudi Arabia since June,who had been working without valid permits and would have been
deported after the imposition of the Nitaqat law on November 3.
The Nitaqat makes it mandatory for companies in Saudi Arabia to employ one local for every 10 migrant workers and also involved a drive to identify illegal migrants.
We have dealt with all the cases and all of them had been brought back from there, said Kolkata Municipal Corporation Commissioner Khalil Ahmed who had been appointed as the nodal officer to handle the situation.
The deadline was November 3 and we had to make arrangements in consultancy with the Embassy there. All of them had been brought back, said another senior official of the KMC adding that the migrants were brought back after verification reports were sent to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.
A reality check by The Indian Express,however,found that several people,mostly from Murshidabad district,are yet to return,although the documents provided by KMC show they had. While the families of most such people refused to talk to the media,the kin of Joydeb Raj Banshi,who according to the KMC papers was brought to Kolkata on November 5,said he was still in Saudi Arabia.
A resident of Kandi in Murshidabad,Joydeb had gone to Saudi Arabia with the help of a travel agent in his village. He was desperately looking for employment to provide for two step-sisters,his father and step-mother.
He went to Saudi Arabia six years ago with a promise that he would have to take care of goats of a sheikh. Later,we found that he was made to work as a daily labourer. His employer had taken away his passport and Joydeb was left with no other option but to stay back, said Artha Raj Banshi,Joydebs uncle.
He said that Joydeb could not get any opportunity to return in the last six years. He used to call us every few days. Last time he called was about a month ago saying that he will pay Riyal 1,300 to someone to who can arrange his return home. If that didnt work out,he had said he would surrender himself to Saudi authorities, Artha added.
He claimed to have got a letter from the embassy asking him to hand it over to the Superintendent of Police of the district. We got the letter today and will visit the SP tomorrow, he said.
Humayun Kabir,SP,Murshidabad,however,said,I have no idea about how many people had been working in Saudi Arabia and if they have returned.