India Diaspora
Bahrain to launch social housing for expatriates
Mar 20, 2007 - 8:51:13 PM

New Delhi, March 20 - Bahrain's Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa has promised his country would open social housing for expatriates to improve their living conditions, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said Tuesday.

Ravi, who had a 40-minute discussion with the visiting crown prince here to discuss a host of issues related to the welfare and working conditions of 260,000 Indians in Bahrain, said Shaikh Salman was 'extremely keen to better his country's ties with India'.

'The crown prince said the Bahrain government was formulating a social housing project for the expatriates there. It would provide better housing and living conditions for the workers and ease out their problems,' Ravi told IANS.

'We discussed various issues including the labour reforms Bahrain is introducing, a memorandum of understanding on labour and the living conditions of Indians working there,' he said.

According to the minister, the issue of compensations to the victims of a boat tragedy and a fire accident also came up during the discussions.

While 21 Indians were killed when a pleasure boat capsized near one of the bridges linking capital Manama with al-Muharraq island on March 30, 2006, 17 Indian labourers died after a devastating fire broke out in a three-storey building at a labour camp in Bahraini capital Manama July 30.

'He said the process would be expedited,' Ravi said.

Of the total population of 720,000 in Bahrain, Indians constitute 160,000.

The crown prince, on a four-day visit to India, is expected to hold discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also call on President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

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