External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that the government was making all efforts to bring back the 10,000 Indian workers rendered jobless in Saudi Arabia and was also providing them food in camps.
Swaraj said in Lok Sabha: “I assure you that no Indian worker rendered unemployed in Saudi Arabia will go without food. I am monitoring the situation on hourly basis. I am satisfied to say this in Parliament that ration (food packets) has been distributed to all the five camps for the next 10 days.”
Swaraj also said that Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh will visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to start the process. “But this is not a permanent solution to the problem. The companies have shut their factories and left. We can’t leave our workers there. I contacted their foreign office and labour office. We have asked the foreign office to authorize us to bring them from Saudi Arabia,” she added.
Elaborating on the situation, the Minister said: “But their payments are also due. So, I have asked the labour office that each one of them will sign a contract. Before the company pays the government’s (Saudi Arabia) dues, they should first pay these workers.” She said all the formalities will be completed once V.K. Singh reaches Riyadh.
“Not even a single worker will stay hungry. Everyone will get food. This is my assurance to the country through the Parliament,” said Swaraj.
The workers have been laid off by Saudi Oger, a leading Saudi construction company following the slowdown in the Saudi construction industry due to fall in global crude oil prices.