Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday sanctioned Rs 3,56,700 from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, on humanitarian grounds, to facilitate the return of a Gurdaspur resident from a ship he is stuck in at Sharjah Port.
In response to a letter from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Amarinder has directed that the amount be released against pending wages of Vikram Singh, who has refused to leave the ship, along with five other Indian nationals, on account of non-payment of their salaries for the past several months.
Swaraj, in the letter to the Chief Minister, said the Indian Consulate in Dubai, which had been asked to inquire into the matter, had informed her ministry that Vikram and the others were stuck on the “Sharjah Moon” ship, owned by a Pakistani national’s company, M/s Alco Shipping, Sharjah.
The consulate said in its report that the sailors had not been paid their salaries for six to 12 months and the owner of the ship was refusing to cooperate in the matter despite the best efforts of the consulate.
Swaraj said while the consulate was helping the sailors and was willing to pay their return air fares, they did not have any provision for payment of their outstanding wages.
“She, thus, sought the state government’s help in this regard, requesting payment of the pending wages on humanitarian grounds,” a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.
The spokesperson said Swaraj has assured of Vikram’s repatriation at the earliest, once the state government makes the payment against his pending wages.