Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SB/SP)
Mangaluru, May 15: Puneeth from Ganjimutt here and Damodar from Mulky were happy when they bagged employment as car painters in the Gulf region with a salary of 1800 rials per month (Rs 28,000) some months back. They yearned to support their families and dreamt of a rosy future. Within five months their dreams have crumbled as they have been made to work as shepherds without salary. So far, only their food requirement has been taken care of, it is learnt. The employer has seized their passports and there is no way they can come back.
'V Care Solutions' agency at Hampankatta which secured the above employment for the duo has not been responding to frantic calls made by the cheated youngsters. Chetan Srikanth of the agency, it is said, has been ignoring the plea of the youngsters to help them out. He reportedly accused the two harassed men of telling lies and claimed that as per his information, both of them have been employed in the jobs for which they were sent.
As soon as they reached Saudi Arabia in December 2016, their employer reportedly took them to a desert and entrusted them with a sheep farm. Their passports and other papers were taken away. The employer asked his assistants to guide the two men how to work as shepherds. Then they realized that the employment agency knew well in advance for what work they were being sent there.
The two now yearn to go back home but are helpless as they do not have their passports with them, nor is their employer interested in letting them go back. They get only food, it is learnt, and access to medicines has been denied. They are paid only for their food, nothing else.
The agency in the city had given them guarantee that they would be working as car painters at Al Abdili. Both of them have contacted Indian consulate there for help. The officials, it is said, have not evinced enough interest in providing much needed relief to them.
These youths have not yet informed their families about their plight for the fear of breaking their hearts. They are trapped in the Gulf, but their families believe that both Damodar and Puneeth are earning handsomely. Puneeth told daijiworld, "We are in serious trouble. We were cheated by the agency. They charged us Rs 75,000 to secure visa. They said we were being hired as painters but we were given the work of looking after the sheep. The complaint of non-payment of salary made to Indian consulate has not got the level of response we expected. Now we want to go back to our homes. We are unable to travel as our passports are with the employer who is not prepared to issue final exit to us."
The Indian Embassy had last month said that it would take up the matter with the Saudi authorities concerned and redress their grievance, but the youths say there has been no progress so far.
Both the young men are in real trouble. They are hopeful that some samaritan will come to their rescue and release them from the bond.