Deserted by foreign bosses, Indians toil in Saudi desert

Updated 28 January 2014

Deserted by foreign bosses, Indians toil in Saudi desert

They left India with dreams of earning decent money in the Gulf, but ended up in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, deserted by their sponsors in Qatar and Kuwait. At least five cases of Indians, originally taken to these two countries on employment visas, and then smuggled into the Kingdom to work as farm laborers, have come to light.
These five Indians were offered attractive jobs in Qatar and Kuwait, and are now stranded in the Kingdom, are not in a position to approach local authorities nor return to their original host countries or return home.
Parmesh Gupta from Uttar Pradesh, Mohammed Omar from Bihar and Ahmed Hasan, were hired as drivers to work in a business organization in Qatar on monthly salaries of QR. 1200, they said. Later, they were however brought into the Kingdom through Salwa border near Al-Ahsa and forced to work as farm labor, they said, alleging that they are not only being ill-treated and harassed by their employers but are not being paid.
Narrating his tale of woe to Arab News amid frequent breaking of signal, Mohammed Omar said: “I get up at sunrise, take the camels to the desert and return at sunset. I pray to Allah every night that this should be my last day here and that I can return home. I cry every day. I can’t even use my mobile phone since the signals are poor in the desert and for weeks, we end up without signals.”
Ahmed Hassan, after several attempts, managed to escape from the farm and reached Dammam where he sought the help of Indian authorities to end his ordeal and return home.
In another similar case, Dasayan Mickaldhas and Vincent Shajin, both hailing from Tamil Nadu in southern India, were recruited by a Kuwaiti business firm that controls function halls to work as electrician and foreman.
The duo, speaking to Arab News over phone, said: “We were brought into the Kingdom by our Kuwaiti sponsor in July last, and we have been working since then in a remote place as shepherds for camels. We are living in a tent in the desert without even the basic facilities.”
Shajin said: “We were not aware of our location for several months. Only recently, we came to know the location after we met another Indian shepherd accidentally. He said another person was also brought to Kuwait and later smuggled into Saudi Arabia to work as shepherd.”
He said: “We have been told by our local employer that our Kuwaiti employer had sold us to him. We haven’t received any salary and are also being subjected to physical assault. We are in desert far away from cities, and we do not know the language or procedures here. We just want to return home.”
In a similar case earlier, Vallipu Kanakaih from Andhra Pradesh, who arrived in Qatar to work as a mason, ended in Nariya in the Eastern Province to work as a camel shepherd. He escaped from there and reached Jeddah to be arrested and deported.
After falling ill, he was shifted to King Abdulaziz Hospital where he was treated for a few months and later repatriated to India. When Arab News reporter visited him at the hospital then, he said: “It took me nearly two years to flee from the desert and camels to reach Jeddah.”
All these workers alleged that they have been deprived of wages and basic facilities and do not know whom to approach as their visas and sponsors are not Saudi citizens.
GCC citizens can bring their domestic workers along with them to the Kingdom on short term visas through border check-posts.

Drones hit Aramco plant, Houthis claim responsibiltiy

Updated 17 August 2019

Drones hit Aramco plant, Houthis claim responsibiltiy

  • Houthis claim responsibility for the attack on the plant
  • The drones hit the plant, causing a small fire that was quickly extinguished

DUBAI: The Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih has confirmed that a drone strike hit the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility causing a small fire on Saturday.

In a statement condemning the attack, Falih said there had been “no injuries” and that the fire had been put out after the several drones were fired at the plant.

“This cowardly attack once again highlights the importance of the international community's response to all terrorist agents who carry out such acts of sabotage, including the Iran backed Houthi militias,” Falih said in the statement.

The Houthis later claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Saudi Aramco’s response team controlled a limited fire this morning at the Shaybah NGL facility,” a statement released on the oil giant’s website read.

“There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco’s oil operations. We will provide further details as they become available.”

The Houthis have carried out a number of attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent weeks and months, targeting residential areas and airports.