Starting August 1, the Consulate General of India in Dubai will remain open on weekends and public holidays, Consul-General Dr Aman Puri told Khaleej Times.

The Indian diplomat officially took charge of the consulate in Dubai on Sunday, July 19, and given the current circumstances owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, consulate services will remain open all days of the week, including weekends and public holidays.

"Starting August 1 to December 31, the consulate will remain open from 8am to 10am on holidays. Unlike an open house, consular services will be made available for those in need of emergency requirements such as passport renewal for emergency travel, etc," said Dr Puri.

He said the decision to keep the consulate open all days of the week is also subject to review, depending on the situation.

He added, "We feel that the coming days are going to be tough and people may need our support. However, this is not something new. Our colleagues at posts and missions (Indian) have always come forward in support of distressed Indians. Given our community here in Dubai is large, the needs here are large as well."

Repatriation processes to continue

Puri said it remains his priority to continue to provide support towards the repatriation of stranded Indians in the UAE. "As a priority, we will continue to support the stranded Indians to Dubai to return home. So far, the consulate has repatriated 170,000 Indians from Dubai and the Northern Emirates," said Dr Puri.

Out of the 170,000, a total of 40,000 have flown out on the Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights, and 130,000 have used chartered flights organised by private companies and community groups. "We have the largest numbers from anywhere in the world. However, the pressure has gone down as the immediate needs of people wishing to travel have been addressed," explained Dr Puri.

"The flights are continuing to operate. Furthermore, the Government of India has also liberalised travel from different countries into India, and we are hoping to have more progress in the coming days," he added.

The Consul-General has also assured that the consulate will continue to support distressed Indians in every way possible. "Not just those directly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but even those who have suffered economic distress due to the ongoing crisis," he said.

Dr Puri replaced former Consul-General Vipul, who left for his new post in Delhi on July 11. He was heading the Indian mission in Birmingham, UK, before taking charge as the Consul-General of Dubai.

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