By Mudassir Raja
All expatriate communities always like to enjoy and engage themselves in cultural activities in Qatar. The Indian community – the largest expatriate community here, is no exception to that.
The community has the prestigious Indian Cultural Center (ICC) working under the aegis of the Embassy of India in Qatar. The center has been organising different cultural activities coupled with welfare services for their larger community.
ICC office bearers yesterday organised a press conference at its Mumbai hall. The ICC office-bearers who addressed the press meet were namely, Manikantan A P, President; Vinod V Nair, Vice President; Bhumeshwar Padala, Head of Consular Services & External Events: Jaffarkhan M, Head of Premises, HR & Sports: Rajesh Singh, Head of Finance & Sponsorship; Mohsin P, Head of Affiliation & Membership; and Nirmala Shanmugapadian, Cultural Coordinator.
The ICC office-bearers highlighted various new programmes their team wants to introduce for welfare and cultural activities. They talked in detail about cultural programmes, welfare projects, and educational activities.
Talking to the media, Manikantan said: “First of all, we are having [already started] cultural programems on every Wednesday – from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. The weakly programmes are about dance, music and art of India. These events will be organised by 19 different organisations, affiliated with ICC.
We are providing a chance to the affiliated organisations to present their cultural programmes. There are many Indian schools and they can also come and perform in ICC on every Wednesday. There are many institutes that are also interested in carrying out cultural programmes. They will first get registered with ICC and then they will offer their performances. We are allotting them slots accordin.
“Last two weeks, we have had our programmes. We will have one month summer break – from July 3 to the first week of August. We have already booked 15 Wednesdays. We have done our work to spread the news about performance opportunities. Every week, we will be sending press releases on Monday highlighting what cultural programme is going to take place on Wednesday making sure that the news reaches maximum number of Indians. We will prioritise the cultural programmes according to their quality. We are trying to inform more and more people to come and enjoy the shows. Mostly cultural programems in Doha take place on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. We have arranged it on Wednesday, giving people a chance to enjoy cultural activities during week days.”
The president added that the ICC had already been conducting different classes for dance, karate, chess and music. “This summer we plan to have some crash courses for Indian expatriates.”
Manikantan also talked about privileged insurance cards for the ICC members. “We have around 4,000 members. With different associated organisations, we have over 100, 000 members. Now, we are planning to give privilege to some members. First of all we are going to announce a group insurance facility. This will be helpful for all the community members. We have observed that if someone dies here, his or her family finds it hard to deal with the situation.
We are planning to the insurance plan with minimum premium. We are in negotiation with different Qatar based insurance companies. We are trying to keep the premium up to QR100. The insurance will be valid for two years and can be extended. We are planning to launch this scheme in August.
“Further, we are also reaching out to different businesses in Qatar seeking concessions for the ICC members holding privileged cards.”
He added: “We are also going to upgrade the website of ICC and the new website will be launched on June 25. Indian expatriates will be able to apply for ICC membership online. We are also creating a job portal in the website.
Indians living in Qatar or visiting the country will be able to upload their CVs on ICC website. We have been in talks with managers of the different businesses and companies to give preference to these CVs. The job applicants must have Qatari identity card or visit visa number.”
The ICC president also shared that they were going to set up different clubs such as science club, drama club, photography club etc. “We want to get our children to interact with known and professional people visiting Qatar from India.”
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