Expats have come to the rescue of an Indian worker who had reportedly slept for weeks at a bus station in Abu Dhabi.
Gobari Sahani, from the small town of Mau in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, was supposed to earn Dh1,100 monthly as he worked at construction sites. However, he had not received any salary since November. And when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, he was told his pay would be slashed to Dh700 from April. He was also put on double shift but none of his wages for seven months were paid, he told Khaleej Times.
He understood it was all work without pay, so he quit the job in the first week of May.
"I worked from 7am to 8pm at a villa construction site. I was asked to work again from 2am. My salary was reduced to Dh700. I had salary dues pending from November. But in this Covid-19 situation, I know all that money is lost," said Sahani, who landed in the country on a visit visa in April last year.
"I couldn't find a new job or a place to stay. Since May, I used to spend the day at a park and at night at the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station for close to two months. A cafeteria owner and a number of locals used to provide food and passers-by offered money."
Sahani found hope when a community of expats learnt about his plight. Socially active resident V.T.V. Damodaran tried to drum up support for him and, soon, Tushar Patni, managing director of Ajanta Jewellers, stepped in.
Patni said: "Sahani was in bad shape. I bought him new clothes, food and took him to a salon. Now, he looks and feels normal. I have arranged temporary accommodation and food until he gets a ticket on a special flight to Lucknow."
Patni, along with other community members, also raised Rs100,000 (Dh4,900) so that Sahani doesn't return home empty-handed. The cheque was presented to him on Tuesday afternoon.
"I will never forget all these people who helped me. If not for them, I would not have been alive now," added Sahani, who now looks forward to returning home.