Doha, May 25: It's another quake for Nepal but a man-made one. Workers from that country sweating it out in preparing the grounds for the 2022 Fifa World Cup have been denied leave to attend funerals or visit their kin after the devastating earthquakes that rocked the Himalayan nation in April and May, the government has revealed. [Nepal earthquake toll goes past 8,300]
Over 8,000 people have been killed while several thousands were injured and properties were lost in the disaster.
The Nepal government criticised the Fifa, the governing body of world football, and its commercial partners for not taking up the issue and insisted that they must pressurise the Qatari authorities to improve conditions for the 1.5 million migrants employed in the West Asian state for the preparation of the football show. Qatar is set to become the third Asian country after Japan and South Korea to host the football World Cup. [BBC journalist arrested in Qatar for filming migrant workers]
Nepal government said they had requested all companies in Qatar to grant special leaves to the Nepalese workers and pay for their airfare to travel home to stand by their relatives in distress. While Nepalese employees in other sectors have been granted leave, those working on World Cup construction sites have been told 'no' because of the pressure to complete the projects within the deadline.
The Nepal government said it had been trying to contact Fifa and its sponsors to deal sternly with Qatar, adding that nothing will happen unless the Fifa and its rich sponsors take it up. Nepalese authorities regretted that the powerful lobbies were not interested to listen to a poor country like theirs.
The labour ministers of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have discussed the matter informally to establish a more coordinated approach to improving conditions for workers in Qatar.
Nepal is a poor country and its economy is dependent on an estimated $4 billion sent home by the expatriates every year from the Gulf. This accounts for about 20 per cent of Nepal's gross domestic product. The money plays a crucial role in helping rebuild the country after the two recent earthquakes.