Nine workers from Odisha and one from Bihar, who were reportedly stuck in poor working conditions in Dubai, were brought back to India on Tuesday after a video clip uploaded by them on Facebook drew the attention of the Central Government.
The workers reached New Delhi on Tuesday night and met Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Chandra Sarangi on Wednesday.
As per the workers, they were not paid for months and their food was also rationed. “We were denied salary, proper food and even medicines by three Afghan brothers who were our supervisors at the construction site,” said 31-year-old Madan Sahoo, who hails from Odisha’s Khordha district. He added that he was promised a salary of 1,200 dirhams per month (roughly Rs 22,600). “However, I have not been paid for eight months.”
Another worker, Ghuman Moharana, who hails from Nayagarh district, said, “We first went to the police in Dubai, but they refused to help. They directed us to the labour court. But four of five visits later we realised no lawyer would represent people as poor as us.”
Earlier this month, Dharmendra Pradhan had written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, requesting his personal intervention in the release and repatriation of the workers after watching their Facebook video.
The Government of India has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), signed in 2011, which includes provisions aimed at the protection and welfare of workers under the labour law and regulations of the host country.
When any complaints are received regarding Indian Recruiting Agents having caused distress to the migrants, suitable action is taken against such agents under the provisions of the Emigration Act 1983.
After meeting the workers, Pradhan tweeted his thanks to the external affairs ministries of both nations. “Thank EAM,@DrSJaishankar ji & @cgidubai (Consulate General of India, Dubai) for their sincere efforts in repatriating them back home & ensuring their well-being,” he wrote.