Begin typing your search...

Indian migrants seek safe return

Stuck workers complain of inaction on part of Indian officials in Jordan,

Indian migrants seek safe return

Group of Indian migrants (left). Pavendan from Tamil Nadu and Sabu from Kerala (right)

CHENNAI: For nearly a year, 36-year-old Pavendan of Ariyalur district in Tamil Nadu has been struggling to return home from Jordan.

The father of a 7-year-old boy is one among 69 Indians caught in a quagmire in the Middle East country. They are neither permitted to return to India nor are being paid their salary by their employer, who has been running a garment manufacturing firm in Atlajamouat Industrial City, for several months now. Most of them have risked their stay beyond their visa period with the hope of getting their wage and social security fund before returning home. However, the situation is getting worse as days pass.

The Indian workers joined labourers from Nepal and Bangladesh in a strike and also hit the road demanding the authorities address their grievances and get their pending salaries.

“With little help from the Indian authorities here, we are now trying to reach out to the State and Union governments back home in India,” said Pavendan, whose work visa ended in June last year. He said that he ended his “work agreement with his employer Hy Apparels a year ago”.

Like most of the workers from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar states, Pavendan and three other workers from Tamil Nadu are scared to step out of their accommodation.

“We are overstaying here. If the police stop and check our papers, we will be detained and deported to India. We will end up losing our pending salary along with the social security fund (it is a cumulative of 7.5% of the wage/salary deducted from every worker). In my case, I will lose around Rs 1.35 lakh along with five months of salary. Hence, we refrain from stepping out of the quarters and are running short of ration. And there is no water supply for the last three days,” bemoaned Pavendan, who left for Jordan in 2018, leaving behind his wife and two-year-old son.

Pavendan’s close relative and advocate K Magendiravarman petitioned the External Affairs Minister, Chief Minister MK Stalin, and Commissionerate of Rehabilitation and Non-Resident Tamils Welfare Board, flagging the issue and sought their intervention to ensure the safe return of his cousin and 68 other Indians.

Chennai-native claims to have got beaten by boss

Meanwhile, Chennai-native Thiruneelakandan was reportedly beaten up by the manager of the firm for demanding the pending salary and took the issue to the knowledge of the Indian Embassy in Amman on September 12.

Venkataraman and his wife Gayathri were the other two Tamils. “My mother passed away on November 30, but I was unable to travel to my place (Tambaram) to perform final rites for her. I am still stuck here and fighting for our rights and wages with little help from authorities,” said Venkataraman, who has been working as a quality manager for six years.

Sabu Puthenpuriyal, 59, of Mavelikkara in Kerala’s Alappuzha said that he has been working as a security guard in the textile industry for 13 years.

“The situation turned bad after the COVID-19 pandemic as the employer stopped paying salary citing loss. Since January this year, their hope of returning home with their hard-earned money is fading away,” he said, while another security guard Mohan Nair, 63, from Kollam in Kerala, said that his situation was even worse as his health was deteriorating and there was none to take care of his wife back home.

They charged that officials of Bangladesh and Nepal often visited their workers and coordinated with the industry to help the people from their respective countries, but they did not see a proactive approach from the Indian authorities in Amman.

Shanmugha Sundaram J
Next Story