- Residents hire buses to travel to the venue of Indian PM’s address to beat transport issue
UAE (Emirates247): While preparations are underway for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 17 public address to be held at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, UAE-based non-resident Indians (NRIs) are channelling their patriotic spirit by giving staff members the day off to attend the coveted event; some are also hiring private transport buses to ferry people to the venue.
ITL Cosmos Chairman and member of the organising committee for the PM’s UAE visit, Ram Buxani has called this visit one of ‘historical significance’.
“The country is very much excited considering we have a visit by an Indian Prime Minister after 34 years. My memories of the late Indira Gandhi’s historical visit to UAE are still fresh,” he said.
“The visit itself holds great value for the UAE for other reasons too; consider this, there are 26 million NRIs around the world today and 2.6 million Indians living in the UAE. This is 10 per cent of the world’s NRI population right here.”
Buxani says he’ll allow is company’s staff to leave work early on the day of the public address. “We have organised nearly 350 buses to transport the general public to the venue on the day. And my own staff will be facilitated if they want to be let off early to ensure their feeling of excitement and civic duty as an Indian citizen is not curtailed.”
Dinesh Khiara, Managing Director of Khiara Stores in Dubai, has rented out private buses to shuttle members of the Thathai Bhatia community to the venue on the day.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and as soon as I heard of his impending visit to Dubai, I ensured my family and I are all registered to attend,” he said.
Khiara further added that after he posted the same on his Facebook, he received several queries from friends and family members who said they were unable to attend due to transport issues.
This is when he decided to rent buses for the event itself.
“We have hired three buses, with one already booked out,” he said. “Another two would probably fill-up by Saturday. My company’s staff have also been told they can leave by 12.30pm on the day if they choose to attend.”
Kunal Bilakhia, a Dubai-resident, has a different view on his planned attendance on the day.
He says: “I am just going for the fun of it. I have no questions, no ideas, no expectations really. We are 12 friends who are planning to have an outing at the event, with another six people heading out from work.
“We plan to head out by 4.30pm and hopefully make it to the venue by 5.30pm.”
Ashish Karkaria is planning a ‘Gujarati themed’ outing with friends and family, saying: “We have catered all Gujarati snacks for the day, like a picnic of sorts as we head out to the venue.”
What’s on the menu, you ask?
Apparently, theplas, khandvis and khakras have made the cut, says Karkaria.
However, not everyone is planning to jump on to a bus or car with zeal.
Yogesh Babu, a Dubai resident, said: “The heat and the traffic alone are major deterrents to the event. The August heat, with temperatures nearing 50 degrees and the crowds will probably have us exhausted with dehydration.
“I think my family and I would rather prefer catching the address as it is televised live on YouTube or one of the news channels.”