Indian workers left stranded in Gulf countries

The population of migrant workers continues to suffer due to ongoing lockdown and isolation, a result of Covid-19. Be it India where the lockdown put millions of lowskilled migrant workers in danger of starvation as they lost the daily wages on which they depended for survival. Horrific accounts of reverse migration surfaced with many opting to walk thousands of kilometres, or being stuck due to strict border closures. The story is no different in the Gulf countries where many Indian migrants are stuck at the Arabian Sea working at oil rigs. Their ships are not being allowed to dock at any of the ports. The workers fear being jailed for complaining and about 7,000 workers have been stuck at the Arabian Sea for the past two months. Chandrasekhar Reddy, the president of Itchapuram Pravasa Seva Samithi,t told The Daily Guardian: “I hail from Loddapuddi village in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. We have been stranded in Arabian Se past four months.

I work for an Abu Dhabi company, in their oil field. These countries are not allowing us to enter the land.” Same is the case with a Telangana worker Arjun Tummalapalli, Karimnagar. He explained, “I have been working in oil field in the Arabian sea for a UAE company. I wanted to come back to India but it is not possible. Life here is difficult and we are not paid properly these days.” The workers allege that the authorities in UAE are not taking the health of these workers seriousely and even in cases of workers testing positive for Covid-19, isolation and quarantine is not being observed properly. They confirmed six workers hailing from Andhra Pradesh and Kerala testing positive in the Azman labour camp, Dubai. In case of Covid-19 deaths, the bodies of migrants are stuck in these countries due to stringent lockdown regulations. In UAE alone, mortal remains of five workers from Telangana , who died due to cardiac arrest or in accident, are lying in mortuaries.

T.R. Srinivas, BJP NRI co-ordination committee chairman, told The Daily Guardian, “I Managed to get one dead body from Sweden to Viskhapatnam . Duo to Covid-19 , many people have lost their jobs and they can’t return to India. Six people were tested positive and were kept in the same camp with other workers and after many requests they were shifted to a hospital.” Here, the Indian Home Ministry has set strict guidelines regarding bringing back dead bodies to India from abroad. Bheem Reddy, president of Gulf Emigrants forum, said, “Indian embassies in Gulf countries are trying to get our people back, if anyone is stuck, they will just have to contact our embassies. The dead bodies will be brought through cargo planes with WHO guidelines, but this process will take time. As of now, we are not exactly aware of how many dead bodies are stuck there.”

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