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About 10,000 Indians stranded in Saudi to be evacuated: Swaraj

About 10,000 Indians stranded in Saudi Arabia will be evacuated and no one will go hungry as ration has been distributed to them, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament today.

About 10,000 Indians stranded in Saudi to be evacuated: Swaraj
xternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Lok Sabha

New Delhi

Her deputy V K Singh is leaving for Saudi Arabia to oversee the evacuation process, she said in a statement in both Houses of Parliament.

As members in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha expressed concern over the fate of these Indians, Swaraj made the statement informing them that the Indian embassy was running five camps to feed them and she had received hourly inputs till early today.

"Not one worker of ours will go hungry. This is my assurance to the country through Parliament... We will bring all of them back to India," Swaraj said.

The government, she said, was in touch with the foreign and labour offices in Saudi Arabia to ensure their early evacuation.

Swaraj noted that the law there does not permit an emergency exit visa without no objection certificate from the employers who, she said, have shut their factories and left the country, leaving these employees stranded.

The government has requested the Saudi government to give them exit visas as employers had left the country and also urged it to first clear the dues of workers who have not been paid for months, whenever they settle the accounts with the companies concerned.

Singh is leaving for Saudi Arabia to oversee the operation, she said.

She recieved the last report at 2.45 AM, she said and informed the Lok Sabha that ration for 10 days had been distributed in all the five camps. "I am personally monitoring the situation."

As some opposition members in Lok Sabha raised some questions, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed them, saying "She (Swaraj) has done everything. She has done really good work. Nobody has worked this much."

Swaraj's response also drew praise from the Chair and members in the Rajya Sabha.

Swaraj made the statement in the Lower House amid the din created by Andhra Pradesh MPs, who were demanding special category status for the state.

Senior BJP member L K Advani, who was sitting next to Swaraj, was seen requesting Andhra members with folded hands to allow her to speak.

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