Two weeks’ grace period sought for Kerala students

Abu Dhabi: The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi has taken up the cause of school students from the flood-hit south Indian state of Kerala with the UAE authorities, a top Indian diplomat told a press conference on Monday.

The embassy has sought two weeks’ grace period for the students to join the classes because many families who are on summer vacation in Kerala may not be able to come back when Indian schools reopen in early September, said Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, at the Indian Embassy.

He said requesting to delay the school reopening was not possible. A grace period will help them deal with their possible attendance problem.

As Gulf News reported on Monday, Indian community leaders had requested to delay school reopening as a relief to Kerala students.

The ambassador said the embassy has also requested the UAE government to give grace period or visa extension to Keralites who cannot come back to the UAE before the expiry of their visa.

The embassy has also sought help regarding reissuance of visa of Keralites who have lost their visa in flood.

Because of Eid holidays, the UAE officials may take time to process the embassy’s requests, he said.

Suri said those who lost all identification documents fist approach the Kerala Government before proceeding to Indian passport authorities.

Sushama Swaraj, the Indian Minster of Foreign Affairs, has already announced that damaged or lost passports will be replaced free of charge.

“India can reissue passports within days,” the envoy said.

Portal for volunteers

Many Indians in the UAE approached the embassy to volunteer their services in Kerala’s reconstruction projects. When taken up with Norka (Non-Resident Keralites’ Department of Kerala Government), they have agreed to create a portal soon, where volunteers can upload their resume. Therefore, an engineer or electrician willing to volunteer certain time during their vacation can use the portal that will deploy those resources as required across the state, the ambassador said.


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