Nizamabad: Former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj extended a helping hand to the numerous Indian migrant workers in the Gulf, many of them from Telangana state. Many migrant workers who had been fooled by agents into thinking they would get good jobs in the oil rich states, and found themselves stranded without money, were enabled to come home safely because of her intervention.
It is common for Indian migrant workers to be stranded in Gulf countries for various reasons.
There are around eight lakh youths from the two Telugu states working in Gulf countries. Skilled and unskilled workers, they have been migrating to these countries in search of better paying jobs for the last four decades. Most of them are illiterate or semi literate and have difficulty handling paperwork and have no knowledge of the law.
They often find themselves in jail or forcibly returned to their homeland if they don’t have valid documents such as passport or visa. Unable to get suitable employment, they continue to stay on but without proper food, accommodation or access to medical facilities. In many cases travel agents and middlemen have cheated them, assuring them good jobs in Gulf countries, which never materialise. Some badly distressed workers have even died.
Sushma Swaraj reacted swiftly to a report in Deccan Chronicle of January 9, 2017 which described the plight of 500 Indian workers stranded in Iraq. The Indian Embassy extended all necessary assistance to the workers to reach their homes safely. These migrant workers and their families have always been grateful to her for her prompt action.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, president of the Gulf Telangana Welfare and Cultural Association, Patkuri Basanth Reddy, said that Sushma Swaraj ensured that the bodies of migrant workers who died in the Gulf countries, could be brought home quickly. Before this, the bodies were brought back after three to six months and spent that time in a deep freeze, he said.