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You are my family, Modi tells Indian workers in Saudi Arabia

The prime minister visited workers residential camp in Dahiat Namar on the outskirts of Riyadh

Published: Updated:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at home in the midst of hundreds of Indians at Larsen & Toubro, an Indian engineering and construction company involved in the Riyadh Metro project.

When the prime minister arrived at the workers residential camp in Dahiat Namar on the outskirts of Riyadh, he was greeted with the chant ‘Modi, Modi” by the workers clad in their best attires.

Modi responded by freely mingling with them, shaking hands with them and even sitting down at their dining table to share their snacks of sambosa, puff pastry, sweets, dates and juice.

The workers had signed two helmets meant as souvenirs for the prime minister and L&T. Modi too signed the helmets and wore one of them to the joy and clapping of the workers.

“It is the smell of your sweat that has brought me here,” the prime minister started his half-an-hour address in a huge marquee which serves as the dining hall for the workers.

“Your sweat not only feeds your family, but it also brings pride and honor for India,” Modi said.

“I receive your news from your family members: some carry pain, some have distress, sometimes there is a bundle of happiness. When I get good news from you I feel the same happiness as felt by your family members. But if I get some disturbing news from your side I too get disturbed. So you are my family. Your sorrow is my sorrow and your happiness is my happiness,” said the prime minister.

Praising the workers, he said, “Whenever I had the honor of talking to the King, he had always been all praise for Indian workers. Hearing this, I feel proud.

“Time is not far when the Indian workforce will reach many corners of the world because today the kind of manpower the world needs, India has the capability to provide.”

Alluding to the gigantic Riyadh Metro Project, Modi said, “Work on the Riyadh Metro has been going on for so long, millions and millions of hours of work has been done, millions of man days have been spent. I was told that despite this huge work not a single accident took place. This zero loss is not only because of technology, not only because of management, but it is because of you. The credit goes to you because you followed discipline and did not do anything in hurry.

“If a wall collapses, it can be rebuilt, but if human life is lost everything is lost.”

Encouraging the workers, the prime minister said, “There is a byproduct of your work, and the byproduct is that when people see your good work they think of brining workers from India for other projects too.

“You have given honor to India. You have opened up doors of opportunities for the youth in India. So I congratulate you for your skills and your discipline.”

Modi also informed the workers about the government’s welfare portals. “You live and work far off from the city. It is difficult for you to approach the embassy. So taking into consideration these issues, the government has started a portal called Madad (Help). Through this portal you can easily convey your problems to the Indian govt.

“Of late India has made its name globally in diplomacy because of its predominantly humanitarian nature. Anywhere in the world if an Indian faced any problem, the Indian government reached him in no time,” Modi said, giving the example of the timely and risky repatriation of Indians from Yemen.

“We put all our efforts to help even a single Indian in distress in any part of the world.

“Like Madad, there is another system called emigrate. This has made employer-employee coordination easy and their coordination with the government easier. This has also helped curb cheating and limit the involvement of middlemen.”

The prime minister also announced two welfare initiatives for workers in the Kingdom. One is the Workers Resource Center and the other a 24×7 helpline free of charge in various languages.

Modi said in his trademark style: “I am free 24 hours. I have no work. The work I have is to seek the welfare of 1.26 billion Indians. I have no personal work. So the Indian government has launched a portal linked to the prime minister’s office (PMO) called mygov.in. You can make your voice heard through this portal also. It will reach me directly.

“Similarly you can download Narendra Modi App. I will always be in your pocket. There cannot be anything more convenient than keeping your prime minister in your pocket. Through this app I will listen to you and interact with you. We will always be in touch,” he said to much delight of the workers.