Wahab vows to tackle Gulf sector air fare issue

DUBAI - Dubai-based businessman P.V. Abdul Wahab and the first Gulf-based Non-Resident Indian (NRI) to be nominated to the upper house of Indian parliament, said tackling the Indian national carriers' fares issue to the Gulf sector, which has affected over 1.3 million Non Resident Keralites (NRKs), will be his top priority.

By Meraj Rizvi

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Published: Sat 28 Feb 2004, 11:45 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:14 AM

"I will represent the issue to the highest chair of democracy in India and hope the policy makers will take notice and help resolve it," said the 51-year-old Chairman of Bridgeway Group in Dubai and member of the Kerala unit of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

"The news about my nomination to the upper house of Indian parliament has come as a big surprise. At the same time, it brings along a huge responsibility of the three million NRIs in the Gulf that I will represent in the Indian parliament.

"My efforts will always be to highlight the issues faced not only by NRK's, but all NRIs in the region," Mr Abdul Wahab said. He added he will soon meet leading Indian businessmen and other prominent Indians in the region to learn about the issues that need to be heard by the policy-makers in India.

Mr Abdul Wahab, who is in Dubai since 1974, is an active member of several Indian associations and business groups in the UAE. In addition to his business conglomerate spread across India and the Middle East, he is an active social worker and philantropist and runs educational institutions in India and the Gulf.

He has been an active member of the Malabar Airport Development Action Committee (MADAC) having led the private sector in the development of Calicut Airport in Kerala and the Cochin International Airport Limited.

Hailing Mr Wahab's nomination, leading Indian businessman in Dubai, Ram Buxani, praised the Indian government for finally recognising Gulf NRIs' contribution to India. "Mr Wahab's nomination is a great development and I am sure, he will be a real representative of the three million Gulf Indians in the law-making body."

"We had no formal platform so far to air our views and problems, so we took the help of the media to reach out to the Indian government. But, with Mr Wahab's nomination to the Rajya Sabha, our problems will be represented well to the government also because he is well versed with the issues facing the Gulf-based Indians.

"Our demands are not very high, but it should be represented well and conveyed it through proper channels to the people who matter in the government machinery," Mr Buxani said.

B.R. Shetty, Chairman of New Medical Centre and UAE Exchange, said Mr Wahab's nomination to the Rajya Sabha was long over due. "It has not come as a surprise. I am so glad, and proud that Mr Abdul Wahab has got his well deserved position."

"My good friend, social worker and a philantropist," said Mr Shetty, Mr Wahab's nomination will make a difference to the several Indian communities residing in the Gulf. I am sure, he will contribute effectively to the policy makers in India since he is well versed with the problems of the millions of Non-Resident Indians in the region.

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