Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Apr 9: A stranded Indian worker who was not paid his wages for the past 18 years received compensation of Saudi Riyal 85,000 from his sponsor in Jeddah on Saturday after the intervention of Hail Governor Prince Saud bin Abdulmuhsin, Arab News reported.
The compensation was handed to the Indian Consulate in Jeddah by officers from the Shamli police station in Hail.
Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai thanked the Hail governor for helping the worker identified as 45-year-old P. Periyaswamy, who had apparently been neglected by his sponsor.
“If it were not for the intervention of the governorate, the victim would not have seen light at the end of the tunnel,” the diplomat added.
The consul general said he would send a personal letter of thanks to Prince Saud.
Periyaswamy, a resident of the village of Karkudi village in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, came to work as a shepherd in Hail province in 1994. He was married for a year when he reached the Kingdom.
His sponsor did not pay his salary for 18 years or allow him to go on vacation or leave on final exit. He never confronted his Saudi sponsor with the hope that he would be allowed to go home one day.
A Saudi citizen who took pity on him complained to the police and the governor's office on his behalf.
The sponsor was then arrested and ordered to pay the worker's wages and air ticket.
The governorate also instructed the concerned authorities to repatriate him immediately after the wages were paid. Out of depression, Periyaswamy had even attempted to commit suicide.
On directives from the governorate, Periyaswamy was kept under the care of Al-Shamli police until his dues were settled.
Consul for Labor Welfare at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah S. Dakshina Moorthy told Arab News that although the worker was due more than SR100,000, he demanded only SR85,000 from his sponsor.
According to Moorthy, members of the sponsor's tribe collected the amount as the employer could not pay such a huge sum. He had claimed that he was jobless and not in a position to pay a single riyal.
Moorthy said Periyaswamy agreed to the settlement amount.
“As he did not have a bank account back home, he requested us to keep the money with the consulate and to transfer the sum to a bank account later,” the consul said, adding the money has been deposited into the consulate's account.
In the meantime, the consulate established contact with Periyaswamy's family in Tamil Nadu. “Some social workers in Jeddah helped us to trace his whereabouts. His younger brother Kannappa is making arrangements to receive him in his village,” the diplomat said.
Moorthy said the police officers who escorted Periyaswamy back to Hail promised he would be repatriated within a week.
The consulate issued commendation letters to the police officers at Al-Shamil police who helped the worker.
A group of Indian social workers collected some SR30,000 to help Periyaswamy when he goes to India.
The Indian Consulate has issued him with an outpass (emergency certificate) for a single journey to India.