Indian envoy appeals to expats

Send aid for J&K through PM Relief Fund

T.P. Seetharam, India’s Ambassador to the UAE

As the devastating floods ravage India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, the Indian mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has urged expatriates here to refrain from sending relief materials due to logistical issues and instead contribute to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

“Our suggestion is that they should contribute to the PM’s National Relief Fund because of logistical difficulties in getting these things to the beneficiary,” India’s Ambassador to the UAE, T.P. Seetharam, told the Khaleej Times.

His comments came as Indian community members in the UAE, especially those from Jammu and Kashmir, have been mobilising relief materials to be sent to the flood-hit areas.

“Also, the cost of transporting these supplies is sometimes much more than the cost of the materials,” Seetharaman said.

“Buying them from India will be more efficient and cheaper and appropriate than to deal with bundles of used clothing and blankets and so on. There have been cases where these things get piled up and do not reach the beneficiary. Some NGOs may collect clothes and pile it up out on the roadside… it may lie there for long and can go waste also.”

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday said a total of 130,000 people have been rescued so far from various parts of the flood-affected state. The floods have claimed over 200 lives.

The Indian Army has deployed around 30,000 troops for rescue and relief operations – 21,000 in Srinagar region and 9,000 in Jammu region.

The ambassador clarified that the mission would not be able to interfere or assist senders of relief materials in getting clearance from the customs or other authorities.

“It is better for them to find out the agencies which have already tied up in providing such help and get them sourced from within India. If they carry it, they will have to pay customs clearance duty on these things and go through all other formalities in getting full clearance, which may not be very easy,” Seetharam stated.

The UAE is home to around two million expatriate Indians.