Poor response to call for Indian volunteers in Jeddah

Dubai, June 7 (IANS) The Indian consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has made a fresh appeal for volunteers from the Indian community to help Indian workers who have been affected by a new labour policy in that Gulf country.

While diplomatic and consular staff worked 12 to 14 hours a day, the consulate renewed the appeal as its earlier call failed to draw the necessary response, the Arab News reported Friday.

Indian workers have been thronging the consulate ever since a new labour policy was implemented in Saudi Arabia.

The Nitaqat or Saudisation policy makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

The Saudi government had announced a grace period that is currently on and will expire July 3 for expatriate workers to either rectify their residency status or leave the country.

In view of this, the Indian missions in Saudi Arabia had appealed for volunteers to help meet the rush.

The situation in Jeddah is in sharp contrast to other Saudi cities where members of the expatriate Indian community have volunteered to help the distressed workers.

In Saudi capital Riyadh, members of the Indian community have been helping officials fill out workers’ forms at the Indian embassy after an appeal from the embassy.

At the deportation centre in Riyadh, some organisations have been distributing cold water and snacks to people waiting in long queues.

In Dammam, capital of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Indian volunteers have been stationed at various field offices and the deportation centre.

Volunteers have also been posted in field offices in places like Hail, Buraidah, Hassa, Hafr Al-Batin, Madinah, Tabuk, Abha and Taif.

Indian consul general in Jeddah Faiz Ahmed Kidwai again called an Indian community meeting Thursday and sought volunteers to help the diplomatic mission.

There are around two million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia and many of them are blue-collar workers.

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