Abu Dhabi: The Government of India is actively considering a proposal to open a support centre for Indian workers in Sharjah, a top Indian diplomat told Gulf News on Sunday.
This will be the second office of the Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) in the UAE after the one in Dubai that currently caters to Indians in all seven emirates.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs is looking into the proposal made by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi to open a Sharjah branch of IWRC, said T.P. Seetharam, Indian Ambassador to the UAE.
He said that he cannot say at this stage when and where the centre in Sharjah emirate will be opened.
The IWRC in Dubai, set up by the embassy in Dubai in November 2010, runs a 24-hour toll-free helpline (80046342) that offers assistance to Indians in distress. The centre provides counselling by experts in legal, psychological and financial matters by phone or email and in person.
Asked why Sharjah, an emirate from where people can easily access the existing IWRC in Dubai, was considered for the new centre instead of other northern emirates, the ambassador said: “Several factors have been taken into consideration, including the concentration of Indians in Sharjah emirate.”
He explained that access to the existing centre in Dubai was not the only parameter to consider the location of the new centre. “There are many other factors [like the Indian population].”
The IWRC helpline offers assistance in five languages — Hindi, English, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.
The centre received 105,596 phone calls from Indians between November 23, 2010 and July 22, 2016, Dinesh Kumar, Counsellor-Community Welfare at the embassy, told Gulf News. The centre received 8,205 visitors and 5,186 messages by fax, email and SMS.
The IWRC conducted 269 awareness campaigns and 6,783 counselling sessions, including 5,944 in legal, 572 in personal and 267 financial matters in the same period, he said.
All the calls are registered and a reference number is given to the caller for future reference. A date and time are allotted for the callers for counselling sessions, which can be conducted in various parts of the UAE if required.
Apart from the helpline number, the resource centre has a walk-in-counter in Dubai to receive petitions directly from Indian workers, which works between 3pm and 7pm from Saturday to Thursday.
The awareness campaigns such as talks by experts, seminars, panel discussions or question and answer sessions are organised frequently. The individual counselling sessions are arranged for serious issues only, according the IWRC.
FACTS AND FIGURES
IWRC 24-hour toll-free helpline (number 80046342
IWRC services between November 23, 2010 and July 21, 2016
105,596 calls received by the centre
5,186 messages by fax, email and SMS
269 awareness campaigns
6,783 counselling sessions
5,944 legal counselling sessions
572 personal counselling sessions
267 financial counselling sessions