JEDDAH – Several expatriate Indian business leaders have come forward to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the devastating floods that swept through the southern Indian metropolitan city of Chennai. Dr. Siddeek Ahmed, chairman and managing director of Eram ITL Group, is one among them. The Saudi-based group has donated 20 million rupees.


Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Ahmed said that his group’s volunteers were in action to help the residents of Chennai, which got the heaviest rains in 100 years. “The group started making available its assistance through the relief schemes of two leading Malayalam newspapers — Mathrubhumi and Malayala Manorama, by extending them Rs. 10 million each.”


Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy congratulated Ahmed for his humanitarian gesture to come forward to help the badly affected people in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. “The rescue and relief efforts being made to help the Chennai flood victims deserve wide applause, and organizations like Eram ITL Group have set an example to be emulated by all in the humanitarian field,” he said while speaking at a recent function held to handover checks of Rs 10 million to Mathrubhumi Chennai Flood Relief Fund. Mathrubhumi Managing Director M.P. Veerendrakumar and Managing Editor P.V. Chandran received the check from Ahmed.


“The amount is being spent to meet the emergency requirements of the Chennai residents for food, drinking water and other necessities. An equal amount of Rs 10 million is being spent for distributing medicines and medical supplies for the flood-affected people and this is through Malayala Manorama newspaper’s relief initiative,” Ahmed said, adding that instructions have been given to concentrate the relief work mainly among the poor and needy people, especially those in slum areas.


He said Veerendrakumar, and Mammen Mathew, chief editor and managing director of Malayala Manorama, are in touch with him with regard to the relief work being carried out in Chennai, and that his group is getting field reports about the same at regular intervals.


Ahmed said the donations have been made as part of Eram Group’s commitment towards social responsibility and community support. The group consistently makes efforts to extend practical support to the poor and needy, be it financial aid, medical and educational support or disaster relief. “What prompted me to extend the humanitarian assistance is the belief that helping the people in distress is my obligation toward the creator of the universe,” he said.


“Wealth is a trust (amanat) from Almighty Allah and our role is that of its custodian. Distributing money to alleviate the suffering of people is of paramount importance and it is the driving spirit behind our group’s humanitarian initiative after the flood disaster in Chennai,” he said while underlining the need for collective efforts of the entire people of the country in helping the people in distress.


“This is a traumatic time for Chennai residents and they need all the help they can get to recover from the impact of this flood. I humbly encourage my fellow Indians to cut down on extravagant New Year celebrations and use those funds instead to lend a helping hand. Let us extend all our support to the victims and pray that this does not happen again anywhere else in the world.”


hmed also instructed to cancel the annual events of celebrations meant for the group employees to show the group’s solidarity with the flood affected people. “This is also a mark of respect to the large number of our staffers from the state of Tamil Nadu who have contributed immensely to the robust growth of our group. We are also keen to see life limping back to normalcy in Chennai, which was one of the few destinations of Keralites before the Gulf boom,” he pointed out.

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