Special Correspondent

Kochi: Fifty Kisan Seva Kendra locations of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), spread across the State, will offer the services of money transfer of Western Union.

Talking to reporters, Anil Kapur, MD of Western Union Services India, said that AFL, the principal agent of Western Union, entered into an agreement with IOC to provide in-bound money transfer services in Kerala at the rural retail outlets set up by IOC. S. Ravichandran, deputy general manager (retail sales) of IOC, said the tie-up would be an important value addition to the Corporation's key customers.

Mr. Kapur said that Western Union decided to extend the scheme of money transfer at the rate of 15 Dirhams from the UAE to Kerala to the entire country. Western Union could reach the remotest parts of the country because of the tie-up with the India Post and nearly 8,500 post offices were now transferring remittances from Western Union.

In Kerala, Western Union had presence in over 2,700 locations and it handled a major portion of the $4 billion remittances coming from abroad every year. It had tie-up with leading banks, Kerala State Financial Enterprises, Muthoot Finance Corporation, Popular Finance and Koshamattam Bankers, said Mr. Kapur. The five major States of Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala accounted for almost 50 per cent of the total remittances from abroad. Western Union which had only 3,000 locations in 2001 had now spread to over 36,000 locations in the country. The global remittances market was estimated to be about $250 billion, of which India accounted for $23 billion.