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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

UAE consulate in State to trigger more investment from West Asia

S. Anil Radhakrishnan

Will facilitate easy attestation of certificates

Demand for setting it up in Thiruvananthapuram

Expected to lead other Gulf countries to open consulates in State

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The proposed second consulate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the country in Kerala will further trigger investment from West Asia, cement the relations between the countries, and make attestations of certificates hassle-free for those seeking employment in the UAE.

The announcement, on a request made to visiting UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, has come as a big relief to over half-a-million Malayalis working in the UAE who account for 55 per cent of Non-Resident Indians.

Although the UAE Mission in Delhi has been asked to locate a suitable place for the consulate in the State, demands have been raised for setting it up in Thiruvananthapuram taking into consideration the need for better coordination with the State government and the much-needed security cover. Another reason cited is that the consulates of foreign countries are situated in State capitals. The UAE Consulate in Mumbai is housed at Colaba.

A long-pending demand of the Non-Resident Keralites in the UAE, especially those in Dubai, the decision on the consulate comes days after the hurdles over SmartCity, a conglomerate promoted by the Dubai-based holding member Tecom Investments, in Kochi have been overcome by the State government. It comes at a time when the Dubai-based DP World, leader in marine operations, development and logistics, has set up an International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam.

Boost to tourism

The decision is expected to accelerate investments in health care, tourism, information technology, education, and infrastructure investment. An increase in tourist arrivals, especially for medicare, is hoped for. With this, the forgery of visas and reported human trafficking through the three airports in the State to the UAE can also be curbed.

At present, the certificates for attestation of those seeking employment in the UAE are forwarded by the NoRKA-Roots to the UAE Embassy in New Delhi. It normally takes two weeks to get them attested. “The opening of the consulate will reduce the time for the attestation to one week and the job-seekers need not worry as it will be done in the State itself,” a NoRKA-Roots official said.

A majority of the 200-250 certificates that arrive at NoRKA-Roots for attestation are for the UAE.

The setting up of the UAE consulate is will send the right message to the investors from West Asia, especially when the SmartCity project is all set to begin, E.M. Najeeb, president of the Thiruvananthapuram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said. It would help to cement the relations between the two countries, and attract investments to the State in the coming days. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Mr. Ahamed should take the initiative to set up the consulate in the State capital, Mr. Najeeb said.

The decision to open the UAE consulate will force other countries in the Gulf such as Saudi Arabia to open a consulate in the State, K.V. Muralidharan, president of the Kerala Association of Travel Agents, said. Describing it as a turning point in the long friendship and cordial relations between the UAE and Kerala, he said the State would now be the focal point of investment for Arab nationals. Medical tourism would benefit immensely from this, he said.

The UAE consulate will be the third to be set up in the State by a foreign country. The Consulate of Maldives has been functioning in Thiruvananthapuram since July 12, 2005. Russia was next to set up its consulate. A Dubai Visa Processing Centre has been functioning in three cities of the State.

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