From: Asad Khan <Asad.Khan@qanawat.com>
Date: Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 8:07 AM
Subject: No end in sight to 16-month ordeal of 200 duped Indians
No end in sight to 16 month ordeal of 200 duped Indians
RIYADH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN
Saturday 20 April 2013
Last Update 20 April 2013 1:48 am
About 200 Indian workers recruited by Riyadh-based Mapa Construction and Trading Company have been stranded here without salary, food and medical care for the last 16 months.
The workers, since landing here in 2011, have not been able to work or travel outside the country despite the Indian Embassy's efforts and Saudi authorities' assurances.
"The trapped Indian workers are part of the 1,470 men including 890 Pakistanis, whose case got extensive media coverage recently," said Mohan Kumar, who was hired from Kerala and dumped by this Turkish company in Riyadh.
Kumar came to Arab News office yesterday and narrated his story. He had legal documents including the appointment letters of his colleagues signed by Mapa General Manager Suayip Toroslu.
Asked about the company's position, Toroslu said: "The matter is with the police and the labor department. The company is not involved since the beginning of this case," apparently referring to the clean record of the company in terms of business, recruitment and overall operation.
Sibi George, deputy chief of the Indian mission, said: "We are following up this case very seriously ... even Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao raised the matter during his talks with Riyadh governor recently. We also met with these workers at an Open House."
But the workers say their problems are getting compounded.
"Many of them have been seeking alms in Riyadh streets," said Omar Al-Farook, who was accompanying Mohan. Omar, who has undergone a heart bypass surgery, is penniless.
Omar, who has not been given his passport or iqama, said the employment visas were all genuine. "It is still a riddle how so many visas were issued without any work, and who benefited in the process as so many men paid hefty sums," said Omar. Their case is pending before the Ministry of Labor.
The Turkish company hired the workers through different travel and recruiting agencies in 2011. Once the laborers reached the Kingdom, they were told the company did not have enough work for them.
According to Mapa, Saudi managers and employers issued visas for nonexistent jobs and that they are responsible for the fraud.