Kochi: No timeline has been fixed for the repatriation of Indians in distress in Saudi Arabia, according to a Right to Information reply given by the embassy of India, Riyadh. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had set a deadline of September 25 for the workers to reach India, but the RTI reveals that the process is still on. The RTI reply given by the Riyadh embassy to Dominic Simon working in Riyadh said that the claims submitted by the workers to the embassy have already been handed over to the Saudi authorities for further action at their end, for which no timeline has been fixed.
“Sushma's tweet created a panic situation and several persons were forced to join companies for meagre salaries,” said Dominic Simon who keeps a tab on the NRI issues. The RTI reply was given on October 4 by Anil Nautiyal, First Secretary (CW) Embassy of India, Riyadh. According to the embassy, workers were expected to opt for either of the two options--final exit or transfer to other sponsors. The RTI reply clarified that the process was started in August 2016 and was still continuing.
Ms Sushma on August 23 in three separate tweets set a deadline and claimed, “Indian workers who have lost their jobs should file their claims and return by 25th September. We will bring them back free of charge.” When the Saudi government settles with the companies, the workers’ claims will also be settled, she said in a subsequent tweet. In her final tweet on the issue, she said: “Those who do not return by 25th September will have to make their own arrangements for boarding, lodging and return journey.”
Saudi authorities are providing final exit and one-way air ticket to the workers opting for final exit, the RTI said. Ms Sushma Swaraj on August 4 had informed the Rajya Sabha that the Saudi Arabian government had agreed to issue emergency exit visas in two days to Indian labourers stranded in the country and had assured the government of their wellbeing....