The plight of the workers started after leading Qatari firm HKH General Contracting Company, which once employed 1,200 workers, encountered a financial crisis
For the last six months, 600 Indian construction workers in Qatar have been facing denial of salaries, job losses, expiry of visas and substandard living conditions in labour camps, as per a report by The Hindustan Times.
Qatar has been ignoring the issues of the migrant workers who are in the country for the construction work required for the 2022 football World Cup.
According to an Indian official, as many as 300 workers are now being provided employment with other companies while some have been brought back to India. However, as per reports, the workers have not been intimated about the compensation even after working for eight to ten years.
The plight of the workers started after leading Qatari firm HKH General Contracting Company, which once employed 1,200 workers, encountered a financial crisis.
S Kumar, a worker from Kerala who has worked with HKH for eight years, is now waiting for his last six months' payment.
“We are now left to the mercy of people who help us on a charitable basis for food. We do not even have electricity in the daytime, but just about manage to get generators running in the night,’’ he said.
There are some workers whose visa has expired and they are now in constant fear of deportation. A plumber, who worked for the company for nine years, added that he has no option but to wait, “I cannot even go to a hospital for the fear of getting caught as my visa has been expired.”
According to a government official familiar with the issue, Qatar’s Indian community is also doing its bit for helping out their countrymen, by arranging essential supplies for these workers.
Qatar’s Indian embassy took up the matter with the country on April 10 this year. However, after receiving no response, the embassy approached Qatar’s administrative development, labour and social affairs ministry.
Social activist Rema George stated that they are pursuing the case, “The government should take immediate steps to address the issue immediately. These are poor people who have no other means to survive. I have visited these camps where they stay and it is a sad sight.”George further added that the Indian embassy stated that over 200 workers have got their visa transferred to other companies and around 45 have left for India, of which 14 labours’ airfare was sponsored by the mission.