Money stuck in Libya worries Indian evacuees

Overseas Indian workers evacuated from Libya in February last year are caught between a rock and a hard place. The workers, including medical and dental teachers, may lose salaries amounting to lakhs with the political and economic instability in the country threatening to devalue the currency.

While some workers managed to bring home a few lakhs in Libyan dinars, there are others whose salaries are stuck in banks there.

Dr Vipin Arora, a dental teacher who was working at the University of Tripoli, said he knew of about 50 people who had money stuck in the Libyan capital. "We hope that some solution can be reached through the two governments,'' he said.

The problem is compounded by the fact that banks have put a limit to the withdrawal allowed per individual in the current volatile atmosphere. A senior government official said, "There are concerns that the currency may be devalued because the transitional government is still to find its feet.''

India had evacuated 18,000 citizens from Libya in February and March 2011 following protests against the Muammar Gaddafi regime. The protests led to a violence in all major towns and overthrow of the dictatorial regime. India, like many other countries with overseas nationals working in Libya, was forced to evacuate people in a rush.

According to sources, the issue had been taken up by the government that is trying to work out some way by which the Libyan dinar can be exchanged for Indian currency.

Libya had a substantial number of unskilled and semi-skilled Indian workers in construction and oil companies. In fact, India has interests with state owned oil companies, construction and pharma companies that were running from Libya before civil war broke out.

(Source: Times of India)

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