New Delhi: The economic downturn in Qatar is resulting in non-payment of wages to foreign workers, including those from India. Dr. Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, a Member of Parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, raised the issue of non-payment of wages to Indian workers in the parliament.
He said “a large number of Indian migrant workers in Qatar have gone unpaid for up to four months” and asked the foreign minister to list “the measures undertaken by the government in New Delhi to ensure the protection of interests of Indian migrant workers.”
The Minister of State for External Affairs, General V.K.Singh, revealed that “162 workers employed in Scale Trading and Contracting Company had not received their salary for five months and were denied final settlement and exit permit with passport”, adding that the Indian Embassy in Doha “arranged their air tickets from the Indian Community Welfare Fund and repatriated 160 Indian emigrant workers while the remaining two opted to continue working in the company”.
Such reports are becoming more common. The mass-circulation Hindustan Times newspaper ran a front page story with the headline: “600 Indians in Qatar for 2022 Football World Cup infrastructure stranded with no pay.” It reported in detail the trouble these 600 Indians have had as a result of non-payment of wages by Qatari firm HKH General Contracting Company.
Another daily, The Hindu, published from Chennai, reported earlier: “550 Indians stranded in Qatar – Construction company has not paid salary, assurances not honoured.”
Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to “put in place a robust mechanism for addressing all the concerns” of workers from his state who are facing uncertainties in Qatar.
“There are about 6.5 lakh [650,000] Indians in Qatar of which nearly three lakh [300,000] people hail from Kerala, and I bring to your attention our concern regarding their safety and future of their employment and their engagement in Qatar,” Vijayan said in his letter.