`No claimants for Gulf war compensation'

Staff Reporter

MALAPPURAM: The Gulf war compensation worth $ 30 million meant for Indians is lying unclaimed, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahamed, has said.

Addressing a `Meet-the-Press' programme at the Malappuram Press Club on Saturday, he said there was no claimant for this additional compensation offered by the United Nations to the Indians affected by the 1990 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.

Mr. Ahamed said the Union Government was trying to locate the claimants for the money. The compensation is due to 8,615 people spread across the country. About 1,500 of them are Malayalis, he said. The other people are from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

The Centre had asked the State Governments to locate the people after no one came forward to claim the compensation. Mr. Ahamed said the list of claimants would be published through the passport offices across the country. The three passport offices in the State would publish the list on Monday, he said.

The Union Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank, the institutions which distributed the compensation, were asked to publish the names of the people who had not claimed compensation, he said.

Thousands of people had already got compensation from the U.N. The U.N. had refused to increase the amount when demands for more aid were made. Mr. Ahamed said the U.N. offered the extra aid of $ 30 million after he put pressure on Secretary-General Koffi Annan. However, he said no new application would be considered for compensation. Mr. Ahamed said there would be no increase in the number of Hajis from India this year. Restrictions would be imposed on private Haj operators from the country, he said.

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