Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Remember the travails of 12 Odia labourers trapped in Saudi Arab and struggling to come home? Soon after OTV reported on the issue on May 9, both State and Central governments promptly responded to lend hand to rescue these people through twitter exchanges.  Surprisingly, no action has been initiated in the matter though more than a month has passed.

Reacting to OTV report, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had directed the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia to facilitate the return of the workers. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also sought her intervention for the safe return of the Odia labourers.

But neither Swaraj nor Patnaik have not done anything beyond these twitter responses. The 25 labourers are still struggling for existence at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Twelve of these are from Ganjam district in Odisha. They are jobless since three months and living without money even to buy food.

The family members of the 12 labourers on May 11 met Additional District Magistrate (ADM) of Chhatrapur in Ganjam and sought his intervention for their early return to Odisha but that also did not yield any result.

Odisha Labour Department had written a letter to External Affairs Ministry on May 30 seeking their rescue.

Joint Secretary, Labour & ESI Department, Sudhakar Burgi said, "Protector General of India is in contact with Saudi Arabia where process to repatriate them is on. They had gone to work but had shifted to another company due to which they have some problems relating to Visa and Passport which is being taken care by the Indian Embassy."

More than 15 labourers from Telangana are also trapped with the 12 Odias and according to reports the Telangana Government is taking steps to rescue them. However, unless proactive and immediate steps are taken, these labourers will remain bonded for life.