GDN: THE Indian Ambassador yesterday called for efforts to educate overseas workers in relation to labour rights and employment status before they arrive in countries such as Bahrain. Ambassador Mohan Kumar was speaking after an open house event at the Indian Embassy, Adliya.
He admitted that some of the individuals involved had not signed contracts for the work they were carrying out and that made it difficult for the embassy to help.
"We are still getting a lot of cases in relation to unpaid wages and our colleagues are working very hard on these but in many of the cases it is difficult for us because no contracts have been signed," he said.
"There are two main ways of fixing this. The first is the law route and the second is education.
"Any embassy will find it difficult to change laws because it takes so much time and then there are problems with enforcing these laws, which is the same in every country.
"The other tack is to educate people and make them aware of the processes and what they should do before they actually leave India.
"We want them to be issued with an advisory before they leave that includes certain points like; do not leave without a written contract and knowing what your salary will be; an explanation that Bahrain is not as cheap as India so that they know the worth of BD50 when they are here," he went on.
"This pre-departure advisory is already featured on our website (www.indianembassybahrain.com) but I know many people don't access our website and then they may not speak English.
"I think it would be great to get this advisory into the newspapers as well," he added.
A total of nine cases were brought before Mr Kumar and his embassy colleagues during yesterday's open house, which, according to the ambassador, was a sign of things in Bahrain settling down.
"I think today is a sign that things are getting back to normal," he explained to members of the media after the event.
"The numbers are dropping - we didn't have too many cases today - I would interpret that as a good sign that things are returning to normal."
Mr Kumar admitted that, while most of the cases presented yesterday morning were straight-forward and would be investigated further, there were a couple of more unusual issues.
"There is nothing much to say about today's cases.
"One was a genuine medical case in which the man is no longer able to carry out his work.
"A good friend of the embassy has agreed to help in this case and acquire the relevant medical certificates so that he can be repatriated to India.
"Apart from the cases of unpaid wages and claims of cheques not being signed, we had one case involving a divorced couple from the Bora community who want to delete each other's name from their passports.
"There's not really a lot we can do in that case and we explained that they should present themselves to authorities in Mumbai with the relevant judicial documentation.
"Another case we had was of a man who wants to know if he can take a live turtle with him back to India and whether it will be allowed through customs. We will have to look into that."