Jeddah: Living up to his image as a public diplomat, new Indian Ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Dr Ausaf Sayeed, has begun reaching out to NRIs, particularly the poor and destitute workers, in the Gulf country.
It’s not common for high-ranking diplomats such as an Ambassador to dine with the poor and destitute workers in the Gulf. But, Sayeed, a native of Hyderabad, broke the stereotype when he decided to break bread with destitute Indian workers of a leading, but now defunct construction company in Riyadh on Thursday evening. The workers were in a pathetic state as their visas had expired and were not paid for over a year.
He used Iftar as an occasion to reach out to them. He sat with them while they poured their heart out about all the misery they have been going through on a daily basis for over a year.
Sayeed not only ate dates and samosas with them, but also shared long-awaiting good news of their returning home. These stranded labours have been struggling to return home for over a year now. The workers were elated when he told them that their repatriation process had begun.
Amidst applause from the gathering, the Ambassador revealed that Saudi authorities granted exit visas for 300 stranded workers and their repatriation would begin soon. The Indian Embassy too was working to obtain exit for remaining workers, he said.
He noted that the embassy was able to repatriate so far 400 workers. “My visit only signifies that we are for the people,” Sayeed told Telangana Today.
“We got a sigh of relief after meeting with our Ambassador,” Babu Rao, hailing from Nandipet mandal in Nizamabad, said. He was among hundreds of destitute workers in the camp.
He said the Ambassador instilled confidence among them. “We are extremely happy to learn that finally we are going to home,” Santu Chouhan, from Azamgarh in UP, said. The same was echoed by Chengappan of Vellore in Tamil Nadu.
“We never imagined that the Ambassador would ever come to us and share a meal with us,” Ramveer of Kurukshetra in Haryana and Bacchan Yadav of Krushinagar in UP said.
Noted community organisation, World Malayalee Federation, and Miraat Al Riyadh conducted the programme which the Saudi Labour Ministry officials also attended.