India Indian Diaspora Indian Workers in Gulf

Man in coma, family seeks compensation

Driven to despair, Indian worker’s wife sues RAK construction firm

Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter

Image Credit: Supplied
Uncertain future. Kulwinder Singh lying in coma at Al Jimi Hospital

ABU DHABI The family of an Indian worker who fell into a coma after an accident is fighting a legal battle to win compensation from his company.

Kulwinder Singh, 43, from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, has been lying in a vegetative state at Al Ain’s Al Jimi Hospital since September 8, 2013, when the company vehicle taking him from work crashed.

“We had no option but to move court as his family has neither got any compensation nor any end of service benefits,” his brother Balveer Singh told XPRESS over phone from India.

Kulwinder had been working for the Ras Al Khaimah based construction firm as a foreman since 2005.

He is the sole earning member of his family which includes his wife and two children, aged 14 and 2.

“The company is sticking to the stand that they will pay us only if we take Kulwinder to India,” said Balveer. “But we can’t fly him home in this condition. Moreover, we don’t have money to afford his expensive treatment,” he said.

Balveer said when he visited the UAE in December 2013, the company had agreed to pay Dh200,000 in compensation and another Dh58,000 as end of service benefits.

“It’s been nearly one year since then, but apart from a month’s salary, Khulvinder’s family hasn’t got a single penny as yet. Requests to see a copy of his insurance claim have also fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

On being contacted by XPRESS, the public relations officer (PRO) of the construction firm said they cannot hand over any money to the family unless Kulwinder leaves the country.

“The family had earlier agreed to repatriate the patient and we offered to pay all his dues as per UAE labour laws. But we can’t pay the family as he is still in hospital,” said the PRO.

Insisting that the worker was insured, the PRO said the insurance firm will not release the claim amount unless the patient leaves the country. He also claimed that his company has already footed Dh200,000 in Kulwinder’s hospital bills.

However, the argument doesn’t cut much ice with the family who have filed a civil case against the firm.

“Kulwinder’s wife has given a power of attorney to Abu Dhabi resident Shamsher Singh who is fighting the legal battle on our behalf,” said Balveer.

Shamsher Singh who helps accident victims and other distressed workers in Abu Dhabi, confirmed Kulwinder’s case is awaiting hearing in the civil court in Abu Dhabi.

 

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