Kochi: Amid reports of massive layoffs and non-payment of wages to thousands of expatriates including Keralites in Saudi Arabia, an RTI query has revealed that the Indian Embassy in Riyadh is in complete dark when it comes to the details of expats. The Embassy said that it has no details of Indians who have been affected by the development in Saudi Arabia. More than 10,000 expats are in trouble due to unexpected job loss, resulting in breakage of their contract and unpaid salaries and benefits. Indian Embassy made the revelation in an RTI reply given to Dominic Simon, who is employed in Riyadh.
Mr Simon filed an RTI with seven specific questions. However, the Embassy seems to be clueless about all these queries. According to RTI reply, the Embassy does not know how many Indians in Riyadh have lost their jobs and went back to India on 'final exit'. Mr Simon asked for the details of exapts who have requested for assistance from Embassy and details of such assistance, if any. Embassy does not have details of Indians who are still in Riyadh and not been paid salary for more than three months, nor the company-wise list of employees with pending salary for more than three months.
The RTI reply was given on August 28. Mr Simon alleges that the Embassy is totally disconnected from the Indian diaspora. In another RTI reply the Indian Embassy has said that that from June 2015 to June 2016, it had conducted just two cultural programmes - International Day of Yoga and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Interestingly, in its website the Embassy clarifies that its Community Welfare provides all possible assistance and guidance to Indian nationals in distress; authenticates labour contracts, facilitates settlement of disputes arising out of those contracts.