State

Plumbers from Kendrapara stranded in Oman

Kendrapara,November 20: A batch of skilled plumbers from the district is stranded in Oman undergoing a "harrowing ordeal" following which the Kendrapara MP has urged the Indian Embassy to initiate steps for the safe and early return of the migrant workers.

Allegedly tortured and "held captive" by their employers, the workers are stuck in the Arabian Peninsula nation, relatives of the stranded plumbers said.

At least seven skilled labourers had made their way to Oman through a local labour contractor.

The stranded workers are Pradipta Prasad Ghadai, Prakash Kumar Ghadai, Srikar Mallik, Rabindra Ghadai, Nihar Ranjan Swain, Sarada Prasad Khatua and Birandra Ghadai, officials said.

They were told that they would be assigned plumbing jobs.

However, after landing there, they were forced to work in a bread manufacturing factory and against the hefty wage package assured to them during placement, they were grossly underpaid, Rajendra Ghadei, relative of a stranded worker said.

"The labourers are held captive by their employers. They had raised their voice against the low wages. Forced to toil for over 12 hours in a day, they are packed like sardines in a dimly-lit house in inhospitable conditions. They were beaten up by the employer's henchmen for raising their voices," Ghadei said.

"They are forced to eat sub-standard food. The accommodation provided to them is also not fit for human habitation," the relative said quoting a telephonic conversation with the stranded workers.

"My nephew Pradipta had called me four days back and narrated his plight in Oman. They are in distress," he added.

"I have requested the Indian Embassy at Oman to initiate steps for the safe early return of migrant workers. Their family members have informed that all of them are leading a miserable life in Oman. It appears that their life is at stake. 

The Indian Ambassador in Oman is taking up the matter to set free the labourers," Kendrapara Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda said. .

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