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Dubai: Blue-collar workers honoured on Labour Day

The traditional Indian folk dance of bhangra was the highlight of the celebrations in Al Quoz



by

Mazhar Farooqui

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 3:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 May 2022, 2:38 PM

Watching this energetic bhangra dance to a peppy Bollywood track might trick you into thinking this video clip is from a stage show in India.

The traditional folk dance originated in the northern Indian state of Punjab to celebrate the harvest season and is now a staple at many Indian weddings. But on Saturday, May 7, the popular Indian dance form was performed at a government event right here in Dubai to mark the World Labour Day.

Men dressed in bright green and yellow clothes and matching turbans danced to the rhythmic beats of 'Morni Banke' from Bollywood comic caper Badhai Ho at the packed event organised at a labour ground in Al Quoz by the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs (PCLA) in Dubai.

Senior government officials from various departments including Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and Civil Defence attended the celebrations.

Major-Gen Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, deputy director-general of the General Administration of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDFRA) and chairman of the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs in Dubai, termed workers as partners and praised their role in building the nation.

“Workers are the backbone of our nation, so we had to be here on this day. They work tirelessly to improve our lives on a daily basis. We appreciate what they do…they are our partners in our journey to build the country,” bin Suroor told Khaleej Times at the annual event.

“We showed our gratitude to workers by dedicating a monument carved with the names of 200,000 workers behind Expo 2020 Dubai. We do our best to create a good environment for them and ensure they have a decent life," he added.

Calling blue-collar workers 'brothers', bin Suroor said their department is always there to support them with 'open arms and open hearts'.

Bin Suroor said that the UAE has been a global model for workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping in line with the vision of the Government of Dubai, to make the emirate the best place to work in the world.

The PCLA is amongst the UAE’s leading government organisations working for the welfare of blue-collared workers.

The committee distributed Iftar meals to workers throughout Ramadan based on their preferences. During Eid, it gave them food and gifts. On Saturday, the workers received goodie bags containing basic essentials and personal hygiene items. They were also treated to an assortment of food, sweets, ice creams and cakes.

“We feel respected and appreciated,” said Rahim Baksh, a mason from Pakistan. In the photo below, workers are seen queueing up for goodie bags:

Abdullah Lashkari Mohammad, secretary-general of PCLA,said it was their duty to help workers.

“We, at PCLA, feel strongly for them as they are away from their families. We are not just their colleagues but also their friends. This connection helps us work together harmoniously to build a better future.”

The entertainment programme also included Urdu poetry recital by radio and television personality Sayyed Arshad.

“It was fun listening to the poetry and watching the performances. It reminded us of home,” said Satnam Singh, a construction worker from Hoshiarpur in Punjab.

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