Al-Jarba wins Saudi Star Drifting Championship

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Falah Al-Jarba taking part in the Saudi Star Drifting Championship. (Supplied)
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Falah Al-Jarba on top of the podium. (Supplied)
Updated 29 October 2018

Al-Jarba wins Saudi Star Drifting Championship

AL-KHOBAR: Falah Al-Jarba on Friday won the Saudi Star Drifting Championship in the city of Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province. 

He was one of 25 contestants in the professional drifting category, with the championship drawing in a crowd of more than 7,000.

The Chevrolet ambassador also won day one of the Time Attack race earlier this month in his 2019 Corvette ZR1. 

“The Corvette is a supercar that tries to stick as much as it can to the track, utilizing all its aerodynamics and engineering,” Al-Jarba told Arab News.

Drifting “is about power, aggression and adapting every second,” he said. “It’s the moment where the tyre loses its traction with the asphalt and the black rubber evaporates into smoke.”

Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

Updated 33 min 44 sec ago

Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

  • The ban was imposed in wake of Nipah virus outbreak last May 
  • With mango season around the corner, Kerala exporters hope the Kingdom will allow imports again

NEW DELHI: Indian exporters have urged the government to ask Saudi Arabia to lift the importation ban on fruits and vegetables from the southern state of Kerala.

The outbreak of a deadly virus in certain parts of Kerala in May last year forced Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to ban imports of horticultural products from the state. 

Most GCC countries have lifted the ban thereafter.

“We are losing more than $1,000 per day as a result of the ban,” says P.E. Ashraf Ali of Pomona Exports, a Kerala-based export company that has been sending fruits and vegetables to Saudi Arabia for the past 20 years.

“We are now sending our products to other south Indian cities, like Coimbatore and Bangalore, and this entails extra costs for us and has significantly reduced our profit margin,” Ali told Arab News.  

Around 20 exporters in Kerala export horticulture products to GCC countries.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the major markets for us in the Gulf region,” said Ali. “Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah are three major airports to which we send our products.” 

V.S. Sunil Kumar, Kerala's agriculture minister, called it “a serious issue.”

He said: “I have already sent two letters to the union government in New Delhi to talk to Saudi Arabia and sort out the matter. New Delhi should reassure them and request them to lift the ban.”

Kumar, who is also a minister in the communist government in the southern state, reiterated the importance of trade with Saudi Arabia.

“Kerala and the Kingdom have shared close trade and cultural ties for centuries,” he told Arab News. “I understand the central government has already taken up the issue with authorities in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi should take more proactive steps to address the concerns of exporters in Kerala.”

V Venugopal, president of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a premier trade body in Kerala, called for inter-governmental discussion between India and Saudi Arabia to sort out this issue.

“The Kerala government has taken very effective steps to control the Nipah virus,” he said. “If exports do not resume soon, the fruit and vegetable market will be very badly impacted. These are very perishable items that cannot be stored. The Indian government should convince Riyadh that Nipah was a small incident that happened more than seven months ago.”

He said that mangoes from Kerala are among the most popular in Saudi Arabia and that many people from Kerala living in Saudi Arabia are expecting the fruit. 

“This is not only a loss for local farmers, but for people in the country,” he said.

Arab News approached the Commerce Ministry in New Delhi on this issue, but received no comment.