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Pune resident, six others stranded in Iraq as govt withholds exit visa

The employees of a Pune-based IT company are in Karbala on a project for a hospital, but the Iraqi government has been delaying issuing them exit visas

While 40 Indian construction workers have been abducted in Iraq (see box), a Punekar has run into another form of trouble in the war-torn country.

Seven persons — one from the city and others from Mumbai — working with Daccess IT Infra Pvt Ltd Company on a project, have been stranded in Iraq for two days.

The company has contacted the Indian embassy there to facilitate their early transit back to India, but it would still take two more days, officials said. The company refused to disclose the identity of the employees, but said they are in contact with their relatives.

Project began in Dec
Nilesh Thackeray, director of the company that is located on Baner Road, told mid-day that they had undertaken a project of installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and local are network (LAN) in Al-Kafila Hospital of Baldavi group in Karbala city in Iraq.

“Our team has been working there since December 2013, and the project was expected to take a year to complete. All our employees are safe, but the Iraqi government has been delaying issuance of exit visas for four days.

We have contacted embassy officials in this regard and expect that the visa will be granted in two days,” Thackeray said.

Mosul: Abductees’ location found

In a separate incident, the location of the 40 Indian construction workers kidnapped in Mosul town of strife-torn Iraq has been identified by Iraqi authorities, the government said yesterday. Asserting that it was doing everything possible to secure release of the kidnapped Indians, the government said Indian embassy in Baghdad was “persistently” following the matter with Iraqi authorities. “We have been informed by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry that they have been able to determine the location of where these abducted Indian nationals are being held captive with workers of a few other nationalities,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

External Affairs Minister says
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that all efforts are underway to rescue them and all others stranded in the violence-hit areas of the Gulf country. Assuring the families of those kidnapped, she said every possible effort is being made to rescue them. “All efforts are underway (to rescue them). I am personally supervising the efforts. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their return,” Swaraj said.

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