As the Indian community in the United Arab Emirates joins forces to collect contributions for victims of Kerala floods, a top Indian diplomat has urged people to follow the rules of the country regarding raising funds.
Addressing a press conference in Abu Dhabi, Indian ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri cautioned the Indian community about the legal formalities required to undertake fund-raising missions in the country. Help activities for Kerala should be carried out within the law of the country, he said.
“The feedback received from the UAE government suggested that some individuals and organization are involved in fund raising. I have to draw the attention of fellow Indians to the local laws (about fund-raising), Suri said, according to Gulf News. “We don’t want well-meaning efforts for the flood victims ending up in trouble. We are very mindful and respectful of local laws,” he added.
Citing the legal issues involved in collecting and sending money abroad, the diplomat said that fund-raising beyond the prescribed norms may be termed as illegal and hence should be avoided. It is mandatory to get special permission from the UAE’s Community Development authorities before collecting money and sending it overseas, Suri emphasized, adding that he was not sure if any Indian community organization in the UAE has taken the permission.
He also told people that they can donate directly to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF), since the UAE authorities, including the Central Bank, have given permission for sending money directly from the UAE to CMDRF. Also, some money exchange houses are ready to send even small amounts without levying any charges. Al Ansari Exchange, the UAE Exchange and Lulu Exchange are facilitating free-of-cost remittance to the Kerala chief minister’s fund.
Suri further asked people to extend financial help through official means instead of sending materials.
“The top officials of Kerala government have clearly conveyed, ‘Please ask our friends and well-wishers to not send relief materials’,” he said, according to the report.
He also said that people should refrain from sending medicines and mineral water to Kerala as these things are readily available in India, that too at a lower cost.
“First of all, sending medicines needs special permission,” he said, pointing out that India is a top manufacturer of drugs in the world. “You can get medicines in India with one tenth cost in the UAE,” the publication quoted him saying.
The natural calamity has taken nearly 400 lives in Kerala, and over one million people have taken shelter in relief camps after incessant rains and landslides caused havoc in the state over the last three weeks.