Indian Ambassador to the UAE has urged the residents who wish to help people in flood-affected Kerala to send money to the relief fund operated by the state government rather than sending supplies.

Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to UAE, said the Kerala government is keen that all contributions should be made directly to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF). The ambassador lauded efforts made by the Indian community to raise funds.

"The local laws are clear. Only organisations authorised to raise funds, which have permission from the Community Development Authority (CDA) can raise funds. Others shouldn't," Suri said and noted community members should send money directly to the CMDRF. The condition applies to Indian associations and community members.

'Indian states are helping'

The ambassador also noted the relief materials were available locally and needn't be transported from here.

He noted that wiring money through exchanges is more efficient option than collecting materials from the UAE, finding way to send them to Kerala's state capital and then from there to flood-affected parts.

Suri noted the Kerala government has to spend additional manpower to verify the supplies airlifted and shipped. "The state government has told us that unsolicited and uncoordinated material arriving in Kerala is a distraction."

The ambassador said that some community associations had pointed out that their members are stuck in Kerala because their passports have been damaged in the floods.

Another issue was with regard to possible delay in return of students on time for when school reopens. "I promise both the categories that we will take up the matter with relevant authorities. I have spoken to officials," he said, adding that a positive decision is expected after the Eid holidays. He noted the embassy has requested for two-week grace period for students to rejoin classes.

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