550 Indians stranded in Qatar

Construction company has not paid salary, assurances not honoured

May 14, 2018 10:20 pm | Updated May 15, 2018 02:44 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Hamad International Airport in Doha.

Hamad International Airport in Doha.

Over 550 Indians, including 25 from Kerala, are among the approximately 1,200 employees of the Doha-based HKH W.L.L. stranded in the peninsular Arab nation for some months.

HKH W.L.L. is one of the largest construction companies in Qatar.

“About 116 staff members have not received their salary since last September. The 1,100-odd personnel in the labour wing have not received their salary since January, and overtime since December. Assurances that the dues will be settled have not been honoured. We are like refugees,” an HKH W.L.L. employee from Kerala told The Hindu over the phone on Monday. Of the stranded Indians, 526 fall under the category of labourers.

“We are unaware of the reason for the crisis. All kinds of rumours are going about. Work on three sites has come to a standstill since March. Many workers have been thrown out of their homes after they could not pay the rent and they are sharing the rooms of those who have company quarters,” he says.

No response

Employees sent a group mail to the management on October 1, 2017, for their salary, he said. There has allegedly been no reply to subsequent mails and reminders.

Workers petitioned the Indian Embassy on March 10 but its response was “negative”, the employee said.

Following this, workers filed a police complaint on March 15 and approached the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) on March 25. MADLSA authorities called the company, which sought time till April 10, but delays in resolving the issue have been ongoing since.

Besides Indians, workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Lebanon, Greece, the United Kingdom, Syria and Russia are running from pillar to post, seeking the intervention of authorities to clear a significant backlog of dues.

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