KHOTANG, July 24: Different social organizations joined hands to provide food assistance to 36 Nepalis who remain stranded in Saudi Arabia for the past five days after their company expelled them over a salary row.
The Rolpali Service Society of Dammam, Saudi Arabia, has been providing them foods since Saturday night. The organization provided them with rice, lentils, salt, oil, vegetable, kitchen utensils and a gas stove.The arrangement was made with contribution from Saudi-based Gurung Tamodhi, Madhesi Sanstha, Nepal NBC, NRB Saudi Arabia along with other organizations, said Bunadevi Bishwakarma, assistant counselor at the Diktel-based information center of Safer Migration Project (SaMi).
The stranded Nepalis were dependent on just one-time meal a day from July 16 to 27. After getting kitchen utensils and food, they have now started cooking food by themselves.
They had gone to the Gulf country on February 13 but have been left in lurch after the employer Sonmar Constructing Trading Advertising and Advertising Company refused to pay them the agreed salary.In protest against non-payment of their salary, they refused to go to work for a day, resulting in their expulsion on July 16.
According to the victims, the company had thrown out their bags, clothes and belongings on the road. They expelled 38 employees in total. Apart from 36 Nepalis, the remaining two are an Indian and a Pakistani.
They had gone to Saudi via the Mitrapark-based Empower Overseas Pvt Ltd. Each of them had paid the manpower agency around Rs 150,000 to land the job. Although the agency stated that they will be paid a monthly salary of 1300-1400 riyals, their Saudi-based employer only offered them 800 riyals per month. Even that amount has not been paid fully. The workers have received only 900 riyals in total from the employer since starting the work.
The expelled Nepalis are not in a condition to even repay the loan they had borrowed to pay the manpower agency. SaMi's Information Center at Diktel said that rescue efforts are ongoing as the stranded workers' condition is deteriorating. Relatives of the victims are pleading for timely rescue.