Tuesday, September 27, 2011
50,000 Indians deported during amnesty
Around 50,000 Indian expatriates, mainly unskilled laborers, were deported from Saudi Arabia until mid-September following an amnesty announced by the Saudi government, according to an Indian diplomat.
The figures include workers without valid residency papers or work permits as well as Haj or Umrah overstayers, who were all issued emergency travel documents by the Indian missions inRiyadh and Jeddah during the amnesty period.
“This is a record repatriation exercise carried out by the Indian diplomatic missions in cooperation with Saudi government agencies,” T.C. Barupal, first secretary at the Indian Embassy who looks after community welfare issues, said in Riyadh on Sunday.
Barupal, who was chief guest at a cultural celebration organized by the Riyadh-based Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA) to mark the Kingdom's National Day, revealed the figures and spoke about growing Saudi-India relations.
Barupal together with AMUOBA President M. Shamsuddin Shams, Vice President Mohammed Ahmed Badshah, and General Secretary Salman Khalid, also lit the traditional candle to mark the opening of an Urdu poetry session organized on the sidelines of the event.
Hanif Tarin, a well-known Urdu poet credited with writing about 12 books and several articles in different journals so far, chaired the poetry session.
Barupal said plans were under way to set up an Indian Workers Resource Center for providing information and a counseling service to members of the Indian community.
The center will also have IT facilities, a facility for web-based attestation, capability to track down all complaints registered and to extend all possible assistance to workers.
According to a report published by the Indian Union Ministry of Overseas Affairs, the Indian government has initiated this pilot project, which is a free, walk-in resource center providing Indian workers, especially semi-skilled and unskilled laborers, direct access to welfare services.
Barupal said India and the Kingdom had forged closer ties in all sectors. Two-way trade exceeded $21 billion in 2010-11, a sevenfold increase over the last five years, he added.