Dubai: A group of 17 stranded Indian workers in Dubai who were left without accommodation and money have been reunited with their families back home after coordination between the Indian consulate in Dubai and Indian People’s Forum Dubai (IPF Dubai). One worker was repatriated on Thursday from Dubai to the northern Indian city of Lucknow while 16 flew home on Friday from Dubai to the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
IPF Dubai, which works closely with the Indian consulate for the welfare of the Indian community here, was arranging food for the men, almost all from eastern India’s Odisha state. They had been laid off in the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. IPF Dubai president Pradeep Kumar said their employer was absconding. Around three weeks ago, the blue-collar workers were asked to leave their accommodation, a villa in Satwa area, as the rent was unpaid, he added.
Kumar said the Indian consulate provided information that the workers needed temporary accommodation, which IPF Dubai arranged within the day. “With support from the consulate, our volunteers arranged their temporary housing, at another villa in Satwa, and daily meals. Meanwhile the consulate arranged emergency passports, outpasses and air tickets for them. Within a week, everything was resolved. Very fast action was taken, even in these pandemic times,” he added.
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Immigration fines waived
UAE authorities also waived off any immigration fines, clearing the way for the stranded workers to be repatriated. “We gave the workers chocolate packets as gifts for their children. We also have them Rs2,000 [around Dh100] each so they would some money for transport after leaving the airport in India,” Kumar said.