Jeddah/New Delhi, July 31 Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will leave for Saudi Arabia soon to assess the severity of the food crisis faced by nearly 10,000 Indians rendered jobless and will explore their possible return, with Saudi authorities assuring assistance.
Singh will travel to the Gulf nation in the next few days to resolve the crisis, sources said, adding that some of the Indian workers who were laid off from their jobs may prefer to come back to India.
Another Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said Saudi authorities have assured that exit visas of affected Indian workers will be processed and their wage claims considered.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last night said over 10,000 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia were facing severe food shortage and the government has ordered the Indian mission there to provide food to them besides other assistance.
"Thankful dat Saudi authorities hv assured @IndianEmbRiyadh Exit visas of our Indian workers will be processed Wage claims will be registered," Akbar said.
"Necessary assistance continues to be provided to our distressed citizens with the heartening support of Indian community in Saudi Arabia," he said in a series of tweets.
After Swaraj's instruction last night, thousands of the workers have been provided food by the Indian Consulate in Jeddah. Large number of Indians have lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia in the last few months due to economic slowdown triggered by low oil prices.
"Indian Consulate (Jeddah) and Indian community's food stuff distribution mission accomplished at 2:45 AM today morning. Kudos to all," the Indian Consulate in Jeddah tweeted.
"All 5 camps, Shumaisi, Sisten/Macrona, Sojex, Highway, Taif taken care with supply of food materials. An effort of last four days succeeded well," it said.
As per available details, 2,450 Indians who are in deep crisis due to closure of their companies were provided food and other assistance.
Swaraj has also appealed to 30 lakh Indians in Saudi Arabia to help their "fellow brothers and sisters", asserting that there is nothing "mightier" than the collective will of the Indian nation.
The External Affairs Minister said yesterday that Indians in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were facing various problems relating to their work and wages and that the "matters are much worse" in the former. Initially there was a report that around 800 Indians were starving for the last three days in Jeddah.
"I assure you that no Indian worker rendered unemployed in Saudi Arabia will go without food. I am monitoring this on hourly basis," she had said.
She said a large number of Indians have lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and that their employers have not paid wages and closed down their factories.