The Indian Consulate in Dubai. Access issues have prompted the shifting of the PBSK from JLT to the consulate premises. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A centre running a helpline and providing legal, financial or psychological counselling for Indians facing distress in the UAE will be relocated from Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) to the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Sunday.

In a media statement, the consulate cited “operational and access difficulties” faced by blue-collar workers as the reason for the relocation of the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayta Kendra (PBSK), six years after it was shifted to the JLT. “PBSK was inaugurated in 2014 in Silver Towers in JLT 1 clusters and was being operated through an outsourced agency, Alankit Assignments (P) Limited.”

Before 2014, PBSK was known as Indian Workers Resources Centre (IWRC) and provided assistance to needy Indians from year 2010 to 2014. The IWRC had started functioning in Dubai on November 23, 2010 and in Sharjah on August 15, 2017. The renaming of the IWRC centre was done in 2018.

Sharjah branch shut

The consulate said the Sharjah branch of PBSK was operational for more than a year but had to be shut down due to COVID-10 as footfall became very low. “For quite some time, we have been receiving feedback from the community about the improvement in service delivery mechanism to all Indians who approach PBSK for assistance as it was designed to operate as first Port of Call for distressed Indians,” stated the consulate.

“Due to the operational and access difficulties being faced by the Indians, especially blue-collar workers, who used to hesitate in reaching out to JLT clusters and also the way in which the overall working scenario has changed, the government of India has decided to shift operations of PBSK to the premises of the Indian Consulate from November 1, 2020,” the mission clarified.

It assured that all duties and responsibilities entrusted with erstwhile PBSK will continue to be carried out in letter and spirit.

Committed to welfare of Indians

“The Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of India in Dubai remain deeply committed to the welfare of all Indians living in the UAE with an assurance that whatever problems an Indian national is facing, we are just a phone call away, or a visit (in case of need) to the PBSK Centre in Dubai which is [now going to be] located in the heart of the city, well connected by public transport and metro and also inter-Emirates bus services. Going forward, we plan to expand the scope of work of the existing PBSK in due course of time,” it added.

Due to COVID-19 related restrictions and the UAE government authorities’ advice, all attempts will be made to minimise the requirement of physical visits for any Indian national in distress, the mission said.

It added that the 24X7 toll free number of PBSK [800-INDIA or 80046342] will continue to be the best way to approach the PBSK in case of any need.

The Ambassador of India to the UAE Pavan Kapoor will inaugurate the PBSK in the consulate’s premises.