17 April, 2021

Man On A Lifeboat

Hapless workers in the Gulf have a guardian angel for bad times

Basanth Reddy receives an award from Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao
Man On A Lifeboat

Social service requires fortit­ude and selflessness in equal mea­­sure. These attributes Patk­uri Basanth Reddy possesses in abundance, for his qualities were forged in the painstaking journey of becoming a ‘saviour’ from being a ‘victim’. Once a migrant cons-tr­uction labourer in the Gulf, today Reddy is often a ray of hope for hundr­eds of workers in West Asia—in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

A farmer’s son in Manoharabad village in Telangana, Basanth Reddy was compe­lled to sign up as a cons­truction worker. “My family was in dis­­t­­r­ess. My debt-ridden parents struggled to sell whatever they could produce on their small holding to feed me and my two bro­­thers. The poverty was unbearable. Those days there were agencies who recr­u­ited construction labour for Gulf countries. I borrowed Rs 70,000 and paid an agent, who sent me to Bahrain,” he recalls.

Construction workers in the Gulf face hazardous working conditions,...

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