Protests in Kerala against retrenchment of expat workers in Saudi Arabia

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 11, 2013 06:10 hrs

Scores of Indian expats, who were forced to return home from Saudi Arabia, following the new work force regulations in the oil rich country, staged a mass protest rally at Thiruvanthapuram.

A senior functionary of Kerala Pravasi Federation, Achuthan M P, "Union government and the state government must take action for the rehabilitation of those who are coming back. Prime Minister has himself, repeatedly, promised that the union government will formulate some schemes to rehabilitate and help the NRIs (non-resident Indians). But, unfortunately, not a single piece was allotted in the Union Budget, either."

In the meanwhile, the protestors thronged the streets raising slogans and demanding a comprehensive long-term rehabilitation policy from the Union and state governments.

The protestors under the banner of Kerala Pravasi Federation (KPF) opposed the new Saudi dictum, Nitaqat.

The work force nationalisation law 'Nitaqat' introduced by the Saudi Arabia fully came into effect on Friday.

This dictum aims to accelerate the nationalisation process, as it makes mandatory for small and medium businesses to hire one Saudi national out of every 10 migrant workers.

The KPF also resolved to come out with a journal to highlight the plight of Indian expats retrenched in Saudi Arabia.

The protestors also alleged that Indian airline operators including the government owned Air India were charging huge money from these expats.

They urged the provincial government to intervene in this matter.

It is to be observed that most of the expats in Saudi Arabia hail from Kerala.

Nearly 150,000 workers from Kerala state have apprehended losing their jobs after Nitaqat came into force.

The number of Keralites working in Saudi Arabia had increased dramatically in the last couple of years.

In 2008, the population of Keralites was 2.19 and 2.28 two years ago, in 2011.

According to the annual report of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, there is an upsurge demand of Saudi Arabia as a desired destination among low-and semi-skilled workers from India. (ANI)

More from Sify: