UAE: Indian passports will have helpline numbers

Gulf News, 08-09-2011 08:08:10

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Shopping malls and community groups will be involved in campaign

Abu Dhabi: A helpline number to support Indians in distress will be stamped on the passports of Indians coming to the UAE in the near future, India’s ambassador to the UAE told Gulf News on Wednesday.

It will be one of many ways of publicising the 24-hour helpline number (800 46342 ) of the Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) set up in Dubai by the Indian Embassy to help Indians in distress, M.K Lokesh, said.

Stamping the toll-free number on passports during the emigration process at Indian airports will take time but the embassy will initiate campaigns in cooperation with major shopping malls, retail chains and community organisations to publicise the services of the centre, Lokesh said.

The measures comes after a three-member family was found dead in Ras Al Khaimah last week, apparently driven to desperation by financial difficulties. As Gulf News reported earlier, the decomposed bodies of Anil Kumar Nair, 44, his wife Sreeja, 31, and daughter Anusree, 8, were found at their residence. Police sources said that forensic investigations had revealed that the man and his wife allegedly hanged their daughter and then committed suicide by hanging themselves due to financial problems. The bodies were repatriated on Wednesday night on Indian flights from Sharjah to Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, said B. Gopakumar, general-secretary of the Ras Al Khaimah Indian Association.

The family had not approached anybody for assistance of any sort, including the IWRC. The IWRC provides counselling mainly in four areas: medical, legal, consular and social [issues].

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After news of the tragedy became public, the centre received many calls from Indians facing financial difficulties, Lokesh said. “It seems mostly it is [a] problem of white-collar workers who have easy access to bank loans and credit cards,” Lokesh said.

He said that, during the first five days of the current month, the centre had received 212 calls [on average about 40 calls a day], where previously it only received around 30 calls a day. Most of the calls pertained to financial problems and counsellors helped callers deal with their issues.

He said many people only sought help when their problems were rather severe. “When people end up in huge debts, it will be difficult to help them. They should seek help as soon as they feel that they are in trouble,” Lokesh urged.

The centre had received 15,000 calls since its inception in November last year, he said. Helpline agents can deal with calls in all Indian languages. In addition to the toll-free number, the resource centre has a walk-in counter in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to receive petitions directly from Indian workers.

The centre has also conducted several financial literacy camps at labour accommodations and other venues. “Such awareness campaigns will be intensified,” the ambassador said.

How to contact the Indian Workers Resource Centre

Helpline number: 800 46342, or 800 (India) for quick recall
Fax: 043559309
SMS: 0557694747
Email Address:
To visit directly :-
Dubai: IWRC Centre, Al Jawahara, 202, Above Habib Bank AG Zurich, Bank Street, Bur Dubai (open on all days of the week from 3 pm to 7 pm)
Abu Dhabi: Indian Social And Cultural Centre in Mina (open only on Fridays from 3 pm to 7 pm)

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