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Modi handshake leaves workers speechless

Modi handshake leaves workers speechless
Modi interacting with workers at a labour accommodation in the Industrial City of abu Dhabi (ICaD) on Sunday.

Abu Dhabi - The Indian Prime Minister mingled with the workers, inquired about their work, well-being and even posed for group photographs.



By Haseeb Haider/Principal Correspondent

Published: Mon 17 Aug 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Aug 2015, 2:03 AM

A handshake and a few words were beyond their expectations when they heard Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet them as part of his maiden visit to the UAE.
However, Narendra Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit the UAE in 34 years, surprised them further - He mingled with the workers, inquired about their work, well-being and even posed for group photographs.
During his brief visit, Modi found time to visit a labour accommodation in the industrial city of Abu Dhabi, in a humanitarian gesture to acknowledge the blue-collared Indian community, an integral part of millions of Indians serving the UAE economy.
The meeting was arranged at an indoor basketball court for over 500 workers who were living in one of the biggest labour accommodations in the capital, which has a total population of 28,000 workers from different nationalities.
Amid cheers from the workers, Saqar Gobash, Minister of Labour, undersecretary and other top officials welcomed the distinguished guest, upon his arrival at the workers' place.
The workers were visibly excited when he approached to them to shake hand and offered help to tackle their problems. He allowed photographers to take group pictures with them.
A visibly moved worker, Arshad Khan, 43 from Bihar who works for Al Dhafra Waste Management Company, said: "We have no issues," adding that it was one of the most pleasant moments of his life, as his prime minister asked him about the problems the workers are facing.
Ratan Lal, 56, another worker from Bihar said this is the first time such a leader has visited them.
"I am very happy to see him," he said.
Pawan Kumar Saini, from Rajhastan who works as a chef with Lulu Hypermarket in capital Mall said, it was a nice gesture to visit us.
Uttam Mandal his colleague from Calcutta said he wanted to capture the moment on his mobile phone but couldn't, due to protocol restrictions.
However, "We had a group photograph."
Though, Modi did not give a speech, his interaction with workers was a strong message to them, as they dominate the 2.6 million Indian diaspora in the UAE, a worker said.
haseeb@khaleejtimes.com


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