32 Tamil Nadu workers trapped in Libya, kin worried

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CHENNAI - Thirty-two families in various villages in Tirunelvelli district of Tamil Nadu are anxiously waiting for information about their near and dear ones trapped in Libya while the news reached home of an Indian Thursday that he died of his injuries sustained in a road accident last week.

The information about the death of T. Ashok Kumar, 24, who was injured with two other Indians in the accident, reached his home in the district 11.45 a.m. Thursday.

Another Indian travelling with him at the time of the accident, Murugaiah, died earlier. The contract worker hailed from Thalaivankottai village. The Tamil Nadu government announced a solatium of Rs.100,000 for his family.

During the night of Feb 19, the three Indians and two Egyptians were trying to cross over to Egypt by car from Tobruk (city in northeastern Libya) when their car met with a head-on collision.

The family of the third Indian, M. Muthukumar, injured in the road accident, is praying for his safe return home.

“My husband is in hospital with back and leg injuries. He wants to come back desperately along with other Indians who are expected to leave Libya by ship. I request the Indian government to bring him back along with others (Indians) from this district,” Muthukumar’s wife, M. Pappathurasi, told IANS over phone.

The couple has a nine-month-old boy, Abhishek. “My husband selected that name and conveyed it from Libya,” she said.

“Till now he has not seen the baby. He should be brought back immediately. He is able to walk (with assistance),” Pappathurasi said, as her voice choked.

“He is anxious to come back along with others from this district. The government has to do something to bring my injured husband back safely,” she pleaded.

According to her, one more person from the state, Kasirajan, was also reported to be in a Libyan hospital with serious injuries. She didn’t know how he was injured.

K. Thangathurasi, a resident from the district whose husband is in Libya, said: “Going to Libya in search of a job is not new in some villages in Tirunelvelli district. People have been there earlier. Now the number of people going there has gone up as the working conditions in Hyundai (Indian workers’ employer) are satisfactory.”

Her husband Kottursami went to Libya to work for Korean group Hyundai in a project for erecting power towers.

“As per our information, there are 47 people from Tamil Nadu who are working with Hyundai,” she added.

Families of Indians working in Libya are also worried about their finances going haywire and problems related to loan repayment.

According to Thangathurasi, the workers’ employer Hyundai retained their two months’ salary towards return airfare when the workers came back home on their annual leave.

“If the company pays that two months’ salary, we will settle our debt and start afresh,” she said.

“We have given a list of persons working in Libya from Thalaivankottai and neighbouring villages and their passport numbers to District Collector M. Jayaraman,” said K. Poosaipandian, head of Thalaivankottai village panchayat.

He said most of the men were aged under 40 and married, only a few of them were bachelors.

The 10-day anti-government uprising in Libya seems to have left an estimated 1,000 people or more dead.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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