Indian gov't confirms 450 workers died in Qatar in 2yrs

Right to information request reveals the Indian embassy in Doha has recorded an average 20 deaths each month since 2012
Indian gov't confirms 450 workers died in Qatar in 2yrs
(Photo for illustrative purpose only)
By Courtney Trenwith
Tue 18 Feb 2014 11:58 AM

More than 450 Indians working in Qatar have died in the past two years, according to Indian government figures obtained by news wire AFP under right of information laws.

According to the Indian embassy in Qatar, 237 workers died in 2012 and 218 in 2013 up to December 5, at a rate of 20 fatalities each month.

The figures follow similar data revealed to AFP by the Nepalese embassy in Doha last month, showing 191 deaths recorded in 2013, with many of them from "unnatural" heart failure, compared with 169 the year before.

The Indian embassy did not give details about the circumstances of the deaths, but the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said the data showed an "exceptionally high mortality rate".

Qatar is facing heightened scrutiny and criticism for migrant workers’ rights in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup, with multiple major construction projects underway.

The International Trade Union Confederation estimates that as many as 4000 workers will die on World Cup building sites before the World Cup in 2022 if the present fatality rate continues.

British newspaper The Guardian reported on Sunday that human rights group Pravasi Nepali Co-ordination Committee (PNCC) had concluded that 400 Nepalese workers had died on Qatar's building sites.

However, The Peninsula on Tuesday reported that the PNCC denied it had come to any such conclusion.

“We were surprised to read The Guardian’s reference to our organisation. PNCC is not working on any report and we do not have any such data with us,” PNCC spokesperson and general secretary Som Prasad Lamichane was quoted as saying.

“The newspaper’s claim that PNCC will release a report next week is totally wrong.”

The PNCC could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Football world governing body FIFA also has demanded the Gulf state explain how it is improving welfare and living conditions for workers on World Cup projects.

In a report presented to the European Parliament last week, the Qatar World Cup organising committee promised that contractors who build its stadiums will be held to high standards on the welfare of migrant workers, although the standards were not widened to include all construction workers in the country.

The committee insisted it was making "tangible progress" toward reform.

For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.