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India to rescue 10,000 workers starving in Saudi Arabia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo taken May 8, 2014, men do foundation work at the construction site of Kingdom Tower, a planned 252-story building, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo)

India says it has decided to bring home 10,000 expatriates dying of starvation in Saudi Arabia which has laid off many foreign workers amid its worsening economic problems.

New Delhi will send one of its government officials to the Arab state to help alleviate the situation of the dying workers who have been fired by their employers and are now trapped in a "food crisis."

The Saudi government, which is the world’s largest oil producer and has hundreds of billions of dollars stashed away in the US, has reduced spending on public projects since last year.

The cut in public spending has put financial pressure on construction companies which rely on government contracts to pay for the cheap foreign labor used in construction projects.

As a result, managers facing financial difficulty have decided to fire tens of thousands of expats, leaving some of the miserable and poverty-stricken workers with no money to purchase basic necessities including food and medicine.

Riyadh claims that its foreign labor inspectors investigate all complaints against companies and employers who are unfair to their employees and force them to stick to the letter of the law in their contracts.

Indian officials, however, say this is not true. A "large number of Indians have lost their jobs … employers have not paid wages," Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote on social media on Saturday.

Swaraj asked the large Indian community residing in Saudi Arabia, who are better off than the dying workers, to help their compatriots during these tough times. 

"The number of Indian workers facing food crisis in Saudi Arabia is over 10,000," she tweeted, adding that the government was monitoring the deadly situation on an hourly basis.

The Indian Consulate General in Jeddah said on its official Twitter feed on Saturday that it had been distributing thousands of kilograms of food over the past days to help the starving workers.

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