By Irfan Mohammed
JEDDAH — Two Indian workers of a construction company, who were waiting to receive their arrears before leaving the Kingdom, have died separately in Riyadh.
The tragic deaths within a short span has left their colleagues in a state of shock.
The two were part of scores of other employees of the company who were waiting for their dues to be cleared before departing for their homes.
Ponnam Satyanarayana, 47, died of cardiac arrest on Saturday. He complained of uneasiness in his chest and was rushed to a leading hospital but died on its way, sources said.
Earlier, on Feb. 21, 56-year-old Jaswinder Singh, also died of heart attack. His body is still lying in a hospital here.
Satyanarayana hailed from Jagtial district in Telangana and Jaswinder Singh was from Kapurthala district in Punjab. Both worked for the same company for over 23 years. They were concerned about their end of service benefits and other pending wages and were also plaintiff in a grievance filed with the labor court, said their colleagues.
The iqama (residence permit) of both the dead workers expired two years ago and subsequently they were deprived of medical insurance facility.
Also their passports were held by the sponsor. They were only in possession of documents issued by the Indian embassy which stated the reason for them not having original documents.
Sources said the authorities are working to expedite the repatriation process of the dead workers.
The two deceased workers, along with several other Indians, Nepalese and Pakistani nationals, have not been paid for more than a year. They were struggling to survive from mid-2015 and their situation became worse in the beginning of 2016.
In fact, these distressed workers were spending tough time on the streets but the Ministry of Labor and Social Development came to their rescue and shifted them to a proper accommodation near Thunamah road in the capital last September, according to workers. They also said the labor ministry is feeding them since then and pursuing their case. Some of the workers have recently started to receive their arrears, they added.