2,000 Indian workers stranded in Kuwait without salary

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At least 2,000 workers from India have been stranded in Kuwait for months as the company that employed them has not paid them for nearly a year, The Times of India reported on Wednesday.

The workers, mainly from Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, include engineers, supervisors, drivers, plant operators, janitors, warehouse staff, steel fitters and construction workers.

They claimed their visas had expired, they have no money for food and they cannot go to a hospital as they are now illegal residents.

Around 45 of them have been protesting at the office of the construction company, Kharafi National, demanding their salaries so they can return to India, The Times of India reported.

“We do not have money to travel back to our camp, which is 60 km away, every day,” 42-year-old Irfan Ahmed told the newspaper. “The only thing we can do is sit here, sleep here and wait till our plea is considered.”

Most of the workers said forgoing their dues and leaving Kuwait was not an option as the company had their passports. They said they did not have enough money to pay the fine for overstaying, and that the company could not pay them as there were no construction projects.

According to Indian Embassy in Kuwait, M.J. Akbar, MOS (External Affairs) has strongly raised the problems of Indian workers in Kharafi National with Kuwaiti authorities. Minister Social Affairs & Labour of Kuwait had assured most immediate response and relief to our distressed workers.

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As advised by Kuwaiti authorities, a list of 2,084 Indian workers in Kharafi National has been handed over to concerned Kuwaiti Authorities on 1st October, 2017.

All efforts are being made by Indian Embassy with close cooperation with Kuwaiti authorities to provide assistance to our distressed workers, the Embassy said in a statement.

Published on 3 January 2017

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