Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 1: With a large number of Keralites stranded in Saudi Arabia after they lost their jobs, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today deputed Non Resident Kerala Affairs (NORKA) secretary to take steps to coordinate with the External Affairs Ministry on the Saudi crisis.
Vijayan, in an official release, asked the NORKA secretary to take urgent steps to initiate works in co-ordination with the Indian embassy and Malayali organisations in that country.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala asked the Centre to intervene effectively to bring back Keralities stranded in Saudi. "Among those who lost jobs are several persons from Kerala. Many of them were now living in labour camps,"he said.
He also asked the state government to work out schemes to rehabilitate those who return. Over 10,000 Indians have lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia in the last few months due to the economic slowdown triggered by low oil prices.
Many have not received wages for several months as their employers have closed down factories. 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 the Indians and explore their possible return, with Saudi authorities assuring assistance.
Another MoS for External Affairs M J Akbar had said Saudi authorities have assured that the workers' exit visas would be processed and their wage claims considered.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said over 10,000 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia were facing severe food shortage and government has ordered the Indian mission there to provide food to them besides other aid.