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48 Indian workers stuck in Muscat return home

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 01, Apr 2023, 18:46 pm IST | UPDATED: 01, Apr 2023, 23:41 pm IST

48 Indian workers stuck in Muscat return home New Delhi: Stories of Indian workers stuck in gulf countries is not new. Agents promise greener pastures and inspire dreams in the needy to fleece money out of their aspirations to finally abandon them to their horror.

A similar thing unfolded when 48 Indian construction workers in Muscat who languished without food, in poor living conditions and unpaid for months returned home to India in January.

Rescued by the efforts of REDIO (Rescuing Distressed Indians Overseas), a voluntary organization working for stranded Indians overseas, these workers couldn’t thank them enough. With the help of Indian embassy officials, REDIO’s intervention helped them obtain emergency exit papers and clear penalties for overstaying their visas.

22 yr old Ayyaz Ansari, who hails from Indian state of Bihar and is an electrician by skill lamented his trusting the Agents. He was one of the 48 who left for Muscat in December 2021 to work in a construction company. He informed that they were promised 120 Omani Rials (Dh1,100/$300) per month but salaries were cut, payments were delayed and they were made to live in cramped accommodation with about 15 in a small room. He said they were told to do all other kinds of work on the site as masons and plastering. They did not get their payment for the last three months.
 

With REDIO‘s guidance, Twitter and Indian embassy in Muscat helped. October 2022 they tweeted and posted a video about their condition on impending starvation and no money for their sustenance.

Ansari said, ‘We were in a bad condition in the camp. But we were helpless because many of us paid 80,000 rupees (Dh3,500/$970) to the agent so we needed to make some money.’

‘We had to adjust and borrow food from people in other camps. We usually ate just dry rice.’ Another worker informed that many workers went into depression.

REDIO has helped more than 250 workers reach home after they were abandoned by fake recruiters. The agents take them on a tourist visa as also without legal employment contract.

CEO REDIO Dhanashree Patil says that she came to know about them through twitter. She then contacted the Indian embassy in Muscat and kept in constant touch with them for updates on the welfare and status of these 48 workers. She said the whole process of getting them back took 10-15 days as the 48 workers returned back in batches of 10 from Muscat to India.  

She informed that the skilled and semi-skilled workers were from the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Ambassador Dr Dnyaneshwar Mulay who is also the Founder Director REDIO was instrumental in taking up the matter with the embassy at Muscat.

Patil says, ‘Whats important is to spread the message that people should never travel offshores on a visit visa which is also called the travel visa.  ‘The main problem is unauthorised agents who place advertisements in Indian newspapers, social media and online portals. They take the workers on a visit visa and promise this will be converted into an employment visa once they reach the destination country.’

Patil informed that REDIO is presently working on getting two labourers  stranded in Oman back to India.
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