Indians in Saudi Arabia seek more community welfare services

Dubai, May 4 (IANS) A group of Indian organisations in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh have sought enhanced services from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) through the Indian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate general in Jeddah.

The Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA) and the Pravasi Legal Aid Cell submitted a petition in this regard to visiting Indian minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi in the Saudi capital, the Arab News reported Saturday.

ICWF money is mainly utilised to provide food and shelter to expatriate Indians who fall in distress.

The organisations also gave Right to Information (RTI) reports detailing utilisation of ICWF money from both the Indian missions to the visiting dignitary.

According to FOKASA president R. Muraleedharan, only 41 percent of the ICWF money has been used to help distressed expatriate Indians.

The ICWF is used to extend emergency medical care to those in need, provide air passage to stranded overseas Indians, provide initial legal assistance to deserving cases and bear the expenditure on airlifting the mortal remains of deceased Indians to India or local cremation or burial of deceased Indians.

The representatives of the organisations also complained to the minister that the embassy in Riyadh does not recognise social organisations that look after distressed overseas Indians.

“We are just helping them (distressed overseas Indians) on a voluntary basis. Support from the mission would boost the morale of the workers who dedicate themselves to serve their fellow countrymen,” Muraleedharan was quoted as saying.

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