x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Stranded construction workers ask their governments to help

Hundreds of construction workers left stranded in Sharjah labour camps without water, electricity or food lashed out at their respective governments today for failing to offer assistance.

DUBAI // Hundreds of construction workers left stranded in Sharjah labour camps without water, electricity or food lashed out at their respective governments today for failing to offer assistance. Nearly 1,400 workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh claim they have not been paid for more than six months by Atlantic Emirates Group. The Ministry of Labour intervened after the situation was brought to its attention in March, and has sent hundreds of the company's workers home in the past few weeks. Many continue to languish in the camps, without support from their own governments. One worker, Sunil Kumar Challil, said: "Following the media coverage, many welfare groups and individuals have offered us food and relief. "However, no help has come for us from the Indian consulate, who should actually be the ones helping us." The workers also said the Indian Community Welfare Committee, a volunteer organisation at the consulate, has not offered any help despite being aware of the situation through media reports. The Indian consulate in Dubai claimed there had been progress and most of its nationals would be sent home by the end of the week. Similar complaints came from Pakistani workers who said no assistance was offered by their consulate. The workers are demanding full payment and a swift return home. There are still more than 700 workers left in the UAE who are being returned in batches to their respective countries by the country's labour ministry. pmenon@thenational.ae