Taking cognisance of the complaint from Sameer Naik, a Goan trapped by his employer in a Saudi Arabian desert, the Embassy of India in Saudi Arabia has begun the process of his release.
The Embassy has written to the office of Armex Travels, Mumbai, in this regard, with copy of the same marked as ‘Most Immediate’ forwarded to the Union Ministry of External Affairs and the Mumbai-based office of the Protector of Emigrants.
The travel agency has been directed to bring back Sameer to India bearing all his Visa and travel expenses, within 15 days, failing which the matter would be taken up by the Union Ministry of External Affairs.
It may be recalled that Sameer, hailing from Tisk-Usgao, was promised job of a driver in Saudi Arabia by one Siraj Ansari, a Mumbai-based agent, and taken to Riyadh on May 23, earlier this year. Once in Saudi Arabia, he was taken to a desert village and compelled to rear camels, with his duty hours starting at 4 in the morning and continuing up to midnight.
‘The Navhind Times’ brought to light the plight of the helpless Goan youth. His brother Digambar later met Union Minister of
State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shripad Naik, who assured to look into the matter. Finally, an e-mail was dispatched to the Riyadh-based Embassy of India in Saudi Arabia narrating the plight of Sameer.
The communication from the Embassy with the managing director of M/s Armex Travels, dated September 4, 2018, states, “It has been brought to the notice of the Embassy that Mr Sameer Pandurang Naik is facing contracting problems. The employer has not given him job, salary, proper accommodation and other basic facilities as per the contract. He was forced to work as shepherd in a remote area by the employer. He is harassed and ill-treated by the employer. He is facing hardships and wants to return to India.”
Incidentally, Sameer is allowed only 3 to 4 hours of sleeping time. The long hours of working in blazing sun have developed cracks in his feet as well as resulted in other health problems. Furthermore, the Goan youth has been illegally stripped of his passport, mobile phone and other documents, and beaten up by his employer in case he refuses to work.
The communication signed by I M Husain, Attaché (Labour), on behalf of the Embassy further states, “You are requested to contact the sponsor/ employer or your representative in Saudi Arabia immediately and repatriate Mr Sameer Pandurang Naik to India bearing all Visa and travel expenses. Action taken in this regard may kindly be informed to us, at the earliest.”
“Kindly note that if action is not taken to resolve this matter within 15 days, we will be constrained to report to the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, for their immediate intervention,” the communication adds.
According to the job-related papers made available to ‘The Navhind Times’, the name of the employer of Sameer is Hamoud Mana Bin Hamdan Qahtani. He appears to belong to a nomadic tribe moving from one part of desert to another. Therefore, it is very difficult to ascertain the present permanent address of Sameer, who has to move continuously with the tribe.
It is also learnt that the employer of Sameer has recently taken him for his medical examination – with a delay of over three months – a mandatory exercise, which should actually be completed by the employer within 15 days of arrival of the employee, in that country.