Mangalorean's accident in Doha: Mother alleges neglect, company denies
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore & Doha
Mangalore / Doha, Feb 11: Conrad Rachen D'Souza, a native of Mangalore working in Doha, Qatar, met with an accident there in November 2011, and since then his family has been trying to get him back home to Mangalore, alleging that the company he was working for had not provided adequate treatment and was not sending him back either.
In this regard, Conrad's mother Rufeena D'Souza addressed a press meet organized by the district DYFI here on Monday February 11 and said that her son yearns to return home.
"Conrad calls me and says he wants to return home, but the company and police in Doha are not allowing him to do so. They claim that unless some papers are signed, he cannot be sent back," she said.
Conrad is employed with Space Trading Company WLL, Doha, and had met with an accident when he rammed into an earthmover. Reliable sources said that he was talking on the phone at the time of the accident. After the accident, he was treated at a hospital and later discharged, but is still undergoing treatment and is expected to undergo a surgery too.
Rufeena alleged that Conrad was made to do house chores and also work for the company despite his poor health condition.
"He has not been given proper treatment and a urine bag has been attached to him. He is made to sit in the room," she said, adding that his medicines were stopped nine months ago.
DYFI district president Muneer Katipalla said that 18 months ago Conrad left for Qatar and worked as a crane operator. "Even one year and three months after the accident, he has not been sent home," he said,
Katipalla said that DYFI has submitted appeals to the deputy commissioner, the Indian embassy in Qatar and to the minister of external affairs, government of India, but there has been no response from anyone yet.
Dayananda Shetty, DYFI district secretary, Samuel Titus, regional leader of Bangrakulur, and Conrad's two sisters, his aunt Flavy and father Sylvester D'Souza were present.
Clarification by Employer in Doha
On January 30, 2013 Daijiworld received an appeal from Rufeena D'Souza, mother of Conrad Rachen D'souza requesting daijiworld's help in her son's matter. Upon receipt of letter, daijiworld forwarded it to our correspondents in Doha to find out more.
In a couple of days, daijiworld, after investigation, received a brief report about Conrad, who lives in an accommodation provided by the employer. He needs to undergo a major surgery for his full recovery, by a specialist doctor who has to come from abroad.
On the other hand, Space Trading has been trying to claim insurance, but without complete investigation by the hospital, the insurance was delayed. Conrad wanted to return home only after the surgery and insurance claim, and thereby his departure from Doha was delayed.
The company sources told daijiworld that the matter was promptly communicated to the family back home, and that the company has been paying his salary even though he was not working.
"It surprising to see the family complaining back home with a press conference, as Conrad is quite comfortable here, despite his injuries. In November we took him to a private party, and later every time we went on an outing, we took him along, even to the beach and park. Last week also he was taken out for shopping. He did not utter a single word against his employer, but it is a total surprise for us to see the family blaming the company this way," said his close friend and colleague while speaking to daijiworld.
"We have more than 100 staff here, and everyone is happy. No one has faced any problem. All our staff are open to interview by anyone on the top class facilities provided by the company. Most of the staff are in technical and labour categories, and Conrad was given the best of facilities to stay in the company accommodation, much better than the supervisor grade employees," he said.
"Our MD Gerry D'Mello is known for his philanthropic works, and has been helping the poor and needy back home. Hundreds of beneficiaries in Doha and Mangalore are witness to his charity work," he said.
When contacted, Gerry D'Mello, MD of Space Trading, expressed his surprise over the family's allegations which he termed as totally baseless. "We have been sending some money to the family from his salary every month. Complete documentary proof can be provided on this," he said.
"On January 13, 2013 we received a notice from the Indian embassy in Doha seeking answers for Conrad's parents' concern. The company has replied to the embassy with clear details of medical reasons, insurance issues and hospital reports. (Daijiworld possesses copies of both embassy's letter and company's reply).
"We can send him back anytime, but we cannot bear his medical expenses in India. Our intention was to arrange for his surgery here, which can be possible only after the arrival of a specialist doctor from abroad. While we think about the betterment of this boy, I am extremely upset over the way his parents have been levelling allegations against me and my company. How can I help people in such cases? I would have been happier if I could send him back home, so that my problem would be solved. Why should I keep him here by force? What would I benefit from it? I am sorry that people can't even think about this before making allegations," said Gerry D'Mello, who is an active community leader in Doha, and who enjoys tremendous reputation as employer, community leader and philanthropist.
"I am forced to release some photographs to convey the truth to the people as to how comfortable Conrad was here. I have all the relevant documents from hospital, insurance and other related matters. I have submitted all these documents to the embassy which has expressed its satisfaction over the handling of the case. In fact, the embassy has appreciated me for supporting Conrad despite his inability to work," said Gerald (the copies are in possession of daijiworld).
"Even the authorities here are against sending a medically unfit person back home unless it is certified by the hospital. I have sought the embassy's help on how to handle this case, and I will act according to the embassy's instructions," he said.
"First the Doha embassy and later Daijiworld brought this issue to our attention. Only then did we learn that the family has been blaming us. Conrad never complained against us as he has been looked after quite well here. Even his colleagues are helping and supporting him a lot," Gerald said.