Odias trapped in Saudi Arabia: Admin on toes after External Affairs ministry steps in

Bhubaneswar/Berhampur: After External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stepped in following a report aired on Odisha Television Limited (OTV) and later published on this platform on kin of Odia labourers from Ganjam trapped in Saudi Arabia seeking help, the district administration has launched a probe to gather information on the trapped labourers.

According to sources, the administration has so far collected information on 12 labourers who were trapped and the district labour department has said that based on the information collected they will be rescued.

“After we received the complaints, we have collected information on 12 persons. As per reports, four are from Rangeilunda, three from Beguniapara and one each from Khallikote, Chhatrapur, Patrapur, Chikiti and Hinjilikatu,” said Shiv Narayan Sahu, District Labour Officer.

“We are also receiving more such complaints; hence after we conduct a comprehensive probe we will submit a report to the department and the collector. We will also request the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to rescue these persons” said Diptiranjan Mohanty, Assistant Labour Commissioner.

As per reports, these labourers from various blocks of Ganjam district went to Saudi Arabia five months back through an agent from Andhra Pradesh. Reportedly, they were engaged in Al Riyadh Construction Company. However, it is alleged that the company had not paid them for the past 2 months, and has seized their passports. The labourers are also being exploited and threatened, alleged kin.

Following OTV’s publication of the report, the External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj asked the Indian Embassy in Riyadh to take action to rescue the workers.

Replying to the report tweeted by OTV, the External Affairs minister from her official twitter handle tagged the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, following which the embassy authorities confirmed on twitter, “Embassy cognizant of it and actively working towards their repatriation.”