OTV Impact: Nine Odia labourers stranded in Dubai return to India

Bhubaneswar: Almost a month after OTV telecast showing plight of ten Odia labourers stranded in Dubai, nine of them were brought back to India with the help of Ministry of External Affairs.

Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Pratap Sarangi and other BJP leaders of Odisha today welcomed the rescued labourers in New Delhi today.

Sources said, one more stranded labourer will be brought back after the completion of all necessary official documentation.

“The labourers were stranded in the Gulf country for more than a year and had been facing a lot of trouble. After getting information on their plight, we sought intervention of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. With the help of the efforts from the foreign minister and others, the labourers were rescued and brought back to India,” said Pradhan.

Narrating his ordeal, Sudhakar Swain, one of the stranded labourers said, “We had to go through extremely hard time during our stay in Dubai. We were given meagre payments during the first few weeks but later they denied to pay wages for nearly 8 months. Many a times, we even had to manage with just a piece of chapati and sometimes we were also forced to sleep in an empty stomach.”

“The agent who took us to Dubai had taken Rs 80,000 from us to help us get a job in the Gulf country but we were only paid for the initial three months. Later our condition became so worse that we had to ask for Rs 20,000 from our family for sustaining in Dubai,” said another labourer.

As many as 10 labourers from several parts of Odisha including Nayagarh, Khurda and Ganjam districts, who had gone to work in the UAE a year ago were found stranded in the Gulf country after a video of their plight was telecast in OTV.

Narrating their ordeal through the video footage, the labourers had alleged that they were being tortured, and forced by the broker to work overtime. Following media reports, Dharmendra Pradhan sought intervention of External Affairs Ministry to bring back the stranded labourers.