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Indian migrant worker dies at Qatar’s World Cup stadium site

1 May 2016 9:00



An Indian migrant worker has lost his life after being taken ill at the construction site of a stadium for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as rights groups warn of the harsh situation for migrant workers involved in building football stadiums in the Persian Gulf monarchy.

According to an official statement released by the country’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy on Saturday, 48-year-old Indian national Jaleshwar Prasad lost his life after he “fell ill on-site around 9:30 am on Wednesday.”

Prasad, a steel worker, who was working on the al-Bayt Stadium project, “received first aid treatment until paramedics arrived. He was transferred to al-Khor Hospital but sadly passed away around 11:30 am. Al-Khor Hospital reported the cause of death as cardiac arrest,” it further said, adding that a thorough investigation was underway.

A file picture taken on May 4, 2015 shows foreign laborers working on the construction site of the al-Wakrah football stadium, one of the Qatar’s 2022 World Cup stadiums. (AFP)

Al-Bayt is a 60,000-capacity stadium, north of the capital Doha, which will be used up to the semi-finals stage in 2022.

The demise of the Indian worker is the latest in a string of tragic deaths of some 1,200 other migrant workers, who lost their lives due to the grave working conditions of long working hours in a parched temperature. Critics estimated that some other 4,000 could die before Qatar’s $30 billion tournament begins.

A demonstrator holds a placard critical of Qatar’s policies regarding the working conditions of migrant workers in the Persian Gulf state ahead of the international friendly football match between Scotland and Qatar at Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh, on June 5, 2015. (AFP)

The Amnesty International said in a March report that the monarchy was exploiting World Cup migrant workers by putting them in appalling living conditions and imposing forced labor on them.

In another report by the Amnesty in May 2015, the rights group said Qatar had failed to offer promised labor reforms related to migrant workers, calling the so-called reforms “a mere public relations stunt to ensure,” the Persian Gulf state keeps the event.

A file picture taken on November 16, 2014 shows migrant workers at a construction site in Doha, Qatar. (AFP)

Four days earlier, India’s Ambassador to Qatar Sanjiv Arora told Supreme Committee General Secretary Hassan al-Thawadi that his country supports Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup on a wide range of issues, including the supreme committee’s workers’ welfare standards and initiatives.

Presently, Qatar employs about 5,100 workers on World Cup sites, a figure that is estimated to reach 36,000 by 2018.

Migrant workers, mostly from the South Asian countries, make up more than 90 percent of the workforce in Qatar, which amounts to 1.7 million people.

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