National

Nearly 50k Nepali workers set to miss Qatar training

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu
The training is aimed at improving technical capabilities, enhancing job performance and increasing productivity and safety of migrant workers on construction sites

Oct 8, 2017-At the time when Qatar is gearing up to run training courses for migrant workers in their respective languages involved in the construction projects, Nepali migrant workers stand to miss out on this opportunity. 

Last August, Qatar decided to conduct the training in five languages—English, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog and Malayalam—for workers involved in the construction of stadiums for the quadrennial event.

But the programme has left out Nepali language, despite the fact that Nepali migrant workers are the second biggest labour force for the country only after India, which has supplied nearly 650,000 migrant workers.

The omission of Nepali from the list of languages selected as training medium will affect nearly 50,000 Nepali workers currently engaged in the construction projects directly related to the football’s showpiece event that the gas-rich emirate is hosting in 2022.

“This decision indicates as if Nepali migrant workers were seen as Hindi speaking,” said a migrant right activist working in Qatar, adding, “There is already a provision that says formal process of hiring migrant workers through labour contract and other process should be available in Nepali language. However, there is no arrangement for providing training to Nepali migrant workers in Nepali language.”

The Supreme Committe for Delivery and Legacy, the organisation responsible for delivering required infrastructure for the 2022 event, had reached an agreement with the Qatar International Safety Centre (QISC) for conducting training on general life in Qatar, aimed at improving technical capabilities, enhancing job performance and increasing productivity and safety of migrant workers on construction sites.  

According to the committee, the training courses are designed for catering to a diverse range of nationalities involved with World Cup-related projects, mainly construction of infrastructure. 

The Nepali Embassy in Doha, however, seems unaware of this development. 

Nepali Ambassador to Qatar Ramesh Prasad Koirala said that the embassy had not received any information regarding exclusion of Nepali language from the training programme meant for migrant workers involved in the projects related to the World Cup 2022.

Koirala, however, said the embassy had requested the Qatari government for other arrangements in a bid to make life easier for Nepali migrants in Qatar. The Gulf emirate hosts more than 400,000 Nepali migrant workers.

“We have requested the State of Qatar to make public notices and other important information available in Nepali language because of the high number of Nepali nationals here,” he said.

Qatar’s leading telecom operator Ooredoo has been providing SMS service in Nepali language, whereas the embassy has requested the Qatari government to put up traffic signal details in Nepali language as well, according to envoy Koirala. 

Qatar, which won the bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup--the first ever in the Arab region, is building eight new stadiums along with restoring the three existing ones for the  event. 

According to reports, the country is spending an estimated $500 million each week on the World Cup-related infrastructure projects that include hotels, roads, stadiums and upgrading old sports arenas. 

Qatar’s ambitious 2022 project is largely dependent upon migrant workers which make more than 90 percent of its total population of 2.5 million. However, the country has been frequently criticised for its ill-treatment towards migrant workers, especially working in the construction sector. 

Qatar has been the most preferred job destination among aspirant Nepali migrant workers. Qatar, with 125,892 Nepali migrant workers taking up jobs, topped the list among the foreign job destinations in the last fiscal year.  

A total of 379,298 Nepali migrant workers have entered Qatar in the last three years. But the Gulf also has the high rate of fatalities, with almost 300 Nepalis dying, most of them construction workers, every year due largely to squalid working conditions.

Published: 08-10-2017 08:13

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