Sri Lankan minister promises artificial leg for distressed worker

Updated 15 January 2014
0

Sri Lankan minister promises artificial leg for distressed worker

Dilan Perera, visiting Sri Lankan minister of foreign employment promotion and welfare, has offered an artificial leg and employment in Colombo to the Lankan worker who lost his leg while on duty in the Kingdom.
The minister was here to sign an agreement with Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakeih for the protection of Sri Lankan domestic workers in the Kingdom.
Ruwan Chamara Herath, 29, lost his leg in a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he knew that the headlights were not working.
Upon intervention by the Sri Lankan Consulate, Herath left the Kingdom with an enhanced amount of SR25,000.
Herath had complained that his sponsor wanted to forcibly repatriate him against his wishes without giving proper compensation.
“The SR5,000 which the sponsor has promised is my three months’ wages and allowances,” he said.
The minister said Herath deserves the fullest support of the government. “He had come here to help his family, but unfortunately, had to return home because of the accident,” Perera said. A senior official from the consulate said the mission negotiated raising the compensation amount to SR25,000 with the sponsor, who tried to send him home with a mere SR5,000 as compensation.
“We are happy that we worked out a reasonable amount as compensation upon mutual agreement between the sponsor and the employee,” he said.
Herath claimed that the company he worked at treats its workers “like slaves without proper regard for local labor regulations.” He said he had to make up to 20 trips a day transporting sand in huge trucks for a cement factory, along with 16 other Sri Lankan drivers.
He said he came to the Kingdom to make money to build his dream house on a plot of land he owns in Gampaha, a suburb some 30 km from Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital. He said an artificial leg would cost him equivalent to SR8,000 in Sri Lanka. He said he has no definite plans for his future but he that is confident that philanthropists and his government would help him.
Prior to his departure, Herath was hosted at the consulate for a period of three days. “We offered him support to return home,” he said , adding that the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) would also extend their services to rehabilitate him in his hometown.
The SLBFE is a statutory body that looks after the interests of the island’s overseas workers and operates under the guidance of Minister Perera. Sri Lankans who go abroad are expected to register themselves with the bureau, which maintains a complete database of all registrants to offer them services when required.
There is some 550,000 Sri Lankans working in the Kingdom, which is the largest concentration of the island’s workers in the Middle East.
The visiting minister also visited the Sri Lankan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah. He listened to the grievances of the runaway maids who have sought shelter at the missions.
Perera said the number of complaints from the housemaids working in the Kingdom are minimal compared to the Lankan worker population in Saudi Arabia.
The Riyadh Embassy receives an average of 10 runaway maids, while its consulate in Jeddah gets around three cases a day.


Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019
0

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.