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Ananda Kumar Kallakunta with her daughter Susmitha Kallakunta. — Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Ananda Kumar Kallakunta with her daughter Susmitha Kallakunta. — Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai: Meet worker who just won best employee award

Dubai - His two daughters are now nurses.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 17 May 2021, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 May 2021, 9:55 AM

When Ananda Kumar Kallakunta came to the UAE in 1998, he barely had any money in his pocket. But 23 years later, he is a proud father who couldn’t be more grateful to the UAE for what he has accomplished in his life.

The man who once did odd jobs working as a helper in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is now a senior operator at a labelling and packaging company in Dubai.

His years of dedication and hard work was acknowledged on Monday at the fourth edition of the Taqdeer Award. The Indian expat proudly walked onto the stage, along with his daughter, as he was named best employee out of 50,000 blue-collar workers this year.

Read on: New cards offering discounts to workers launched

A total of 77 workers and companies were recognised in the five categories of the Taqdeer Awards. Four companies were placed in the five-star category, 11 in the four-star category, and 14 earned three stars.

“Who said dreams don’t come true? One must have faith,” Kumar said in his touching speech.

“Dubai gives opportunities to different types of people. I thank the Dubai Government for this. When I started working in Kimoha initially, working here in a foreign land was a completely new experience for me and I had my apprehensions. Being away from my family wasn’t easy but to be successful, one has to work hard and be patient. Today, I am a machine operator. I am thankful to my company for this opportunity given to me.”

Aroma International Building Contracting LLC during the Taqdeer Award. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Kumar’s daughter, who is now married and lives with her husband in the UAE, is a frontline worker at one of Dubai’s renowned hospitals. His second daughter also has a nursing degree and lives with her mother in India.

“Such opportunities have enabled me to help educate my children. My daughter has finished her nursing course and today she is working as a frontline worker. I am filled with gratitude for this country. Thank you UAE, Dubai and Kimoha,” the Indian expat said.

Susmitha Kallakunta, who confidently stood by her father’s side, also took the stage and shared how her father had inspired her to turn dreams into reality.

“My father has been an inspiration for me and he is the role model for my family. I am very grateful to the UAE for the career growth of my father, which made him capable of providing me with education and giving me an opportunity to work here in the UAE,” said Susmitha, a nurse at Saudi German Hospital.

During the event, four engineers also received a five-star category award, while another four were named distinguished field supervisors. Four were also honoured in the distinguished workers category. In the four-star category, 11 workers received the title of distinguished field supervisor and 11 got the distinguished worker title. In the three-star category, 14 received the distinguished worker title.

'The UAE will never forget workers' contributions'

This year’s Taqdeer Awards has turned the spotlight on the relentless efforts and dedication of expat workers in the UAE, emphasising the need to continue creating an environment where workers’ welfare is a top priority.

“The UAE will never forget the part the workers have played in its development and their contributions to making it one of the world’s most developed countries in a relatively short time,” said Major-General Obaid Muhair bin Surour, chairman of Taqdeer Award, chairman of the Permanent Committee for Labour Office (PCLA) in Dubai, and deputy director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai).

“I invite you to work together to further raise the standards in labour welfare and exceed global benchmarks,” he added.

During the award ceremony, a special card has been launched for workers, allowing them to get discounts in several retail outlets. Other key achievements of the fourth edition of the award included 35 government incentives rolled out for companies and workers that achieved four- and five-star ratings.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvement as compared to previous years through our Taqdeer reports, especially in the labour environment. The government is looking for quality in the labour environment. This award encourages companies and their owners to provide the best labour quality for workers,” Maj-Gen Surour said, addressing the heads and representatives of the companies and workers who attended the ceremony.

Amid the pandemic, the emirate’s authorities have stepped up efforts to support and protect workers. Millions of face masks, gloves and meals were distributed by the PCLA in coordination with the authorities.

“A lot of Covid-19 awareness campaigns in different languages have been held throughout the year. This has been a key criterion this year: to provide a safe environment for the workers and focus on their health — both at the site and at the labour accommodations,” Surour added.

Key sponsors praised the award and encouraged organisations to continue keeping worker welfare in the heart of their policies.

Hesham Al Qassim, CEO of Wasl Properties and vice-chairman of Dubai Real Estate Corporation, said: “We are pleased to be a strategic partner for the award...This award reflects the leadership’s keenness to honour everyone who works with dedication. It also highlights the role of an important group and its contributions to the continued progress and prosperity of the emirate.”

Hamad Obaidullah, chief commercial officer at flydubai, added: “As in past years, the airline has been keen to support initiatives such as this award that promote better labour relations and a culture of excellence in Dubai, which today is a global destination for tourism and business and attracts talent from across the world.”

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