Injured worker faces eviction

DUBAI — A worker, who was severely disabled in an on-site accident, and waiting for months to get a court-ordered compensation, is facing yet another painful ordeal: forceful eviction from his dilapidated portacabin by the construction company that employed him.

By Isaac John

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Published: Thu 18 Aug 2005, 10:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:14 PM

George Yohannan, who was run over by an uninsured forklift in December 2002 while at work, has been asked by the construction company — Bartawi General Contracting Company — to vacate the premises in Al Quoz Area.

To force his eviction, the company officials had already cut water supply and now threaten to disconnect electricity. With no option for a new shelter, and no money to meet his daily food and medical expenses, the hapless former foreman, living without any salary since the accident, hopes for the intervention of authorities to end his misery. What he asks for is a shelter and the money he won through protracted legal battles.

On hearing his plight, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met him during his UAE tour a few months ago and ordered a relief aid of Rs50,000 which was recently handed over to his six-member family, including his mother who were solely dependant on him.

Yohannan had been awarded by Dubai's labour and civil courts a total of Dh152,000 in damages for the crippling injuries to both legs in the accident caused by a forklift that was operated by a company employee who did not possess a licence.

However, he has not yet received the full amount even several months after the two separate court verdicts issued in cases filed against the company. Since the company had no insurance coverage for workers, he sought compensation for his injury and medical expenses in addition to six months' salary according to the UAE Labour Law. While the Labour Court ordered a compensation of Dh52,000, the Dubai Court of First Instance awarded him Dh100,000. The company's appeal against this was later rejected by the Appeals Court.

However, despite consistent attempts to get the money from the company, Yohannan has received only Dh52,000 awarded by the Labour Court, that too after the intervention of the Execution Court.

Now, while he is waiting in desperation to get the rest of the amount to go back to Kerala, the company officials are not only turning a deaf ear to his pleas for execution of the court order but also putting pressure on him to vacate the premises on the ground that it had been sold to another company.

A social worker who has been coordinating the humanitarian help to Yohannan, frustrated with the undue delay in getting the compensation, said such instances of non-compliance with the court ruling should be severely dealt with as in the case of diya money (blood money) paid to the dependants of those die in fatal accidents.

"Unless the money is paid, the defendant has to stay in prison. A similar rule should be initiated in cases like this to encourage prompt compliance," he said.

With the help of friends, Yohannan has approached the Indian Consulate General for help. A consulate official said they had taken up his case with the appropriate authorities and expected to get the issue redressed at the earliest.

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