Chandigarh, Dec 20 (PTI) In a major relief to 3,000 Indian workers stranded in Saudi Arabia, the government has provided return tickets to those willing to come back and is making efforts to renew permits of those wanting to work there, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said Thursday.

The Indian mission in Riyadh was also visiting the 13 construction sites where the workers were living to ensure their well being, particularly access to medical attention if needed, Badal said quoting a letter from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Badal, who is food processing industries minister, took up the issue with the external affairs ministry, pointing out that among those stranded were 1,000 from Punjab.

The Indians were not paid salaries by their employer and also their visas and residential permits had expired.

Badal said that Swaraj wrote her back informing of the steps taken by the government.

The workers had been hired by one of the biggest construction companies in Saudi Arabia which had to shut shop due to financial losses, Badal said quoting to the letter.

Badal said the Indian authorities were making efforts to ensure the residential permits of the workers were renewed so that they could continue to work in Saudi Arabia, if they want. Swaraj also informed her that she spoke to all concerned Saudi authorities, including the country’s foreign minister, regarding this.

The Indian mission was also in touch with the company officials to ensure pending salaries were disbursed, Badal was told.

She said arrangements has also been made to give return tickets to the workers who wanted to come back to India.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.