BENGALURU: Non-Resident Indians in Middle Eastern countries have expressed their anguish over the crises faced by blue-collar workers employed with oil companies in the Gulf post the slump in the oil market.
As oil prices have fallen in recent months, it has rendered several Indians working in these companies jobless. Worse, once back home, these people are unable to find jobs and are unable to make ends meet, Gulf NRIs said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government’s decision to start skill development programmes for blue collar workers wishing to go abroad. Indians settled abroad felt the programme should be extended to workers when they are back as well.
Giving a glimpse into the situation, Hari Prasad, Director of SEPAM Saudi Arabia Co Ltd, told Express that every month, hundreds of workers were making their way back to India after losing their jobs abroad. These included pipe-fitters, painters, electricians, carpenters and the like. “Once they come back to India, they are unable to find jobs and are left unemployed.”
Even though, the prices are now seeing a recovery, it would not see the earlier peak, those in the business said.
Having come back to India, most often than not, these workers end up where they started decades ago. They would have gone to work abroad after at least a decade of work experience and are now coming back having spent a decade or two in the Gulf. “Essentially, thirty years of their life would go waste,” added Prasad.
Those making attempts to help the relocated workers find that there is lack of co-ordination between the Centre and the states. “The issue could be solved by giving workers a platform to understand the kind of opportunities available. The Union and the state governments should work together in building such a platform,” said Krishnadev CS, Senior Consultant (Investment Promotion), AP Economic Development Board.
Securing mortal remains is tough in Gulf countries’
The difficulties faced by families to secure mortal remains of their family members back to India, was one of the major concerns expressed by NRIs who participated in the event. According to some of them, there are hundreds of bodies of Indian workers in mortuaries in the Middle Eastern countries which are yet to be sent back. Lack of medical treatment on time and false charges pressed on workers were major concerns, the NRIs shared.