Dubai: Indian diplomat Dr. Aman Puri took charge as the Consul General of India in Dubai on Sunday with the promise of providing 365 days of consular access to the expat community in Dubai and Northern Emirates.
Speaking to Gulf News after assuming office, Dr. Puri, a dentist-turned-diplomat, said: “Starting August 1, on all the holidays we will have one of our officers present at the consulate to provide emergency services for two hours in the morning.”
“This will not be an Open House for any person to walk in. This is just for providing emergency services. At least one of our officers will be available on every holiday, making our services available 365 days of the year,” he said.
The officers will be available from 8am to 10 am to address emergency cases.
The monthly Open House system, which was a regular event to address the grievances of community members, was discontinued last year due to the security constraints in the diplomatic enclave.
The new format is being implemented to address the emergency concerns of the Indian expats during the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Puri said the system would continue till end of December following which it will be reviewed.
Succeeding Vipul, who left for New Delhi on July 11 after a successful stint in Dubai during which he was hailed as a community’s champion, Dr. Puri chose not to take the usual two-weeks’ break in India given to diplomats before assuming their new office.
He came to Dubai from Birmingham where he finished his last stint as the Consul General.
Extraordinary support from UAE
Dr. Puri, who himself underwent the free COVID-19 RT-PCR test at Dubai International Airport, appreciated the UAE authorities for providing free tests for Indian expats who are leaving the country and those who are returning from India.
“It is a huge thing for local authorities to do such tests for free of cost for several thousands of people.”
He also thanked the UAE leadership for the extraordinary support given to the Indian community here.
“We have seen how well looked-after the community is in every aspect.”
He said he would continue to work with the UAE authorities to improve bilateral ties.
Supporting return of workers
“One of the priorities for the consulate continues to be taking care of the interest of the Indian diaspora and their needs in terms of their travel back to India or in terms of some of their distress because of losing jobs. Our team will be there to support with whatever best we can do at this time,” he assured.
The diplomat also promised to work with key stakeholders to facilitate the return of the workers who left the UAE after losing jobs.
“In the due course I would like to work with the UAE government and all key stakeholders to see how best we can support the return of those workers.”
“I am sure all of them have spent their lives here over years and they would like to come back to their jobs and I am sure the UAE government is doing its best to help revive their economy and that process will be useful for our people also to return. We will work closely with key stakeholders for that,” he said.
Addressing travel requirements
Dr. Puri said the consulate would continue to address the travel requirements of Indian expats during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Vande Bharat Mission has been a great success. Most of the people’s immediate needs have been addressed. We will continue to make sure that the travel requirements of community members are properly addressed.”
Regarding the return of the Indians stuck back home, Dr. Puri said he was awaiting more liberalisation of air traffic between the two countries in the coming days.
“The government of India is looking at liberalising the whole regime worldwide. We have already seen those signs. We are waiting for information from Delhi about further liberalisation in air travel connectivity. I am sure after this period, we should be seeing further liberalisation.”