25-04-2018
Embassy doors always open for community members: Javed

newsimageIndian Ambassador Ahmad Javed has apprised the Indian community in the Eastern Province about the steps the Indian Embassy has been taking to monitor their welfare. Measures have been taken for the community members and means to assist them while also clarifying that Adhar card was not mandatory for Indians working abroad. The ambassador was addressing Indian community members at the International Indian School in Dammam Sunday night. The meeting was organized by Indian Embassy Social Volunteers Team in conjunction with Indian Embassy in Riyadh. Throughout his speech and during the question and answer session, the ambassador stressed upon the community members to visit the Indian Embassy website for updates and developments as well as write to different sections of the Embassy using the email addresses given on the website. He repeatedly asked the citizens to note down the 24X7 toll free number of the Embassy (800-247-1234) and to contact it for any assistance anytime. He emphasized upon the need to contact the Embassy with details on specific cases to get solutions from the officials. The Ambassador placed on record the recognition and honor which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bestowed upon India by making the country ‘guest of honor’ at Janadriya Cultural Festival 2018. The Indian Pavilion attracted hundreds and thousands of visitors every day during the 18 days event and, the event created a great deal of interest among the locals and citizens of other countries about the culture and heritage. He underscored the role which the Indian Embassy is playing in helping those who are in dire medical need or financial assistance. He cited several examples when the Embassy officials provided meals and other assistance to huge groups of citizens, in different parts of the Kingdom, who became jobless due to closure of companies. He also dealt upon the recent problems faced by some of the Indian citizens who were being held at some airports in India due to Emigration Clearance Required status (ECR) issues and informed that he had taken up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs and such issues would not recur. He clarified that those who have been staying for more than 3 years are eligible to have their status changed to Emigration Clearance Not Required (ECNR). After his short speech, the floor was opened to the audience. The Ambassador patiently listened to over 50 people asking one or several questions each and answered them after noting down all queries. The manner in which he tackled the questions and suggestions reflected complete grasp and command of the situation and issues which the Indian citizens here usually face and he himself asserted that he reads all the mails and other messages addressed to the Indian Embassy. The questions ranged from issues faced by the employees to difficulties in renewal of Iqama due to sponsors failing to pay the fee or the expat levy. Some members expressed their concerns about difficulties in getting admission into Indian community schools here for different reasons and the dilemma of parents in getting their children in class IX and XII admitted back home if they are forced to leave the Kingdom. On one question, he assured that he would look into the suggestion of having an active Parent Teacher Association for more interaction between teachers and parents. He explained the procedure followed by the Embassy officials in the cases of Indians in prison for various crimes and narrated the reasons for which they cannot be bailed out or sent home. On question related to difficulties and the time taken to repatriate the human remains, the Ambassador said that the Indian Embassy arranges repatriation free of cost to India through Air India and that no human remains can be sent home without obtaining the No Objection Certificate of the Embassy. He also clarified that ‘Aadhar Card’ is not mandatory for Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and as long as their bank accounts are NRI status, the banks will not ask them to provide or link their Aadhar card number. Zaheer Baig, Coordinator, Indian Embassy Volunteer Team proposed vote of thanks and IISD Chairman Dr. Zainul Abideen welcomed the Ambassador.