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Kerala’s decision on free body repatriation a relief for expats

Norka will bear the expenses, according to the state budget presented on Thursday by the Kerala finance minister. Fulfilling a long-pending demand of non-resident Keralites (NRKs) in the Gulf countries, the state government has announced that the mortal remains of expats will be flown home free of cost. Norka, which is the department of Non-Resident…

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Kerala’s decision on free body repatriation a relief for expats

Norka will bear the expenses, according to the state budget presented on Thursday by the Kerala finance minister.

Fulfilling a long-pending demand of non-resident Keralites (NRKs) in the Gulf countries, the state government has announced that the mortal remains of expats will be flown home free of cost.

Norka, which is the department of Non-Resident Keralite Affairs, will bear the expenses, according to the state budget presented on Thursday by Kerala’s finance minister, Thomas Issac.

The state with over two and a half million diaspora in the Middle East region – with over a million in the UAE – has also allocated Rs240 million for Santhwanam project to assist NRKs who lost jobs. 

Speaking to Khaleej Times over the phone from Kerala, K. Hariksrihnan Namboothiri, CEO of Norka, said modalities will be worked out soon to implement the new announcement. “The government has earmarked a budget for the purpose. We are looking at various options to simplify the process. We will announce the modalities at the earliest.”

Currently, Indian missions in the UAE give financial help to deserving families or workers who cannot afford the expenses. In normal cases, companies are responsible to transport the mortal remains of their deceased employees, and social workers and Indian missions assist in the process. 

Many expatriates and social workers from the South Indian state welcomed the decision saying “it is a huge favour for Keralite expats”. “I applaud the Kerala government for this decision. We have been pressing for this for many years. Expatriates who contribute millions of rupees in foreign exchange deserve this,” Ashraf Thamarasherry, a social worker told Khaleej Times. “I really hope all other state governments, especially Tamil Nadu and UP that have high number of expatriates, will follow suit.

“Many other countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal repatriate the mortal remains of their citizens free of cost. It is high time the Indian government do the same,” said Thamarasherry, who claims he has helped in the repatriation of more than 5,000 bodies till date.

“Nasser Kanhangad, a social worker who has been helping companies and relatives in repatriating mortal remains for more than seven years, said the average cost of repatriating a body from the UAE to India ranges anything between Dh5,000 to Dh6,000.

“The cargo cost of fixed at Dh1,500 cargo plus a Dh450 service charge. The embalming will cost another Dh1,500. The air ticket for the accompanying person will vary anything from Dh1,100 to Dh3,000 depending on the season.”

While welcoming decision, Kanhangad expressed concern that when Norka takes over the responsibility, it may lead to delay. “The approval process has to be simplified. Otherwise, people will have to wait for days to get the go-ahead and financial approval.”

Thamarasherry suggested that the state government should set up a local committee consisting of social workers and businessmen to speed up approvals. “In normal death cases, we are now able to repatriate a body within the same day. If it is an accident or in other cases involving police, it takes up to two days. Any further delays should be avoided,” he added.

anjana@khaleejtimes.com

Anjana Sankar
Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.

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Political outsider to stand against Orban in Hungary’s 2022 vote

A small-town conservative and father of seven will lead an alliance of six opposition parties in next year’s parliamentary vote.A Hungarian political outsider with no party affiliation will run against Prime Minister Viktor Orban in next year’s parliamentary election after winning an opposition runoff primary on Sunday. Small-town conservative Peter Marki-Zay defeated left-wing Klara Dobrev…

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Political outsider to stand against Orban in Hungary’s 2022 vote

A small-town conservative and father of seven will lead an alliance of six opposition parties in next year’s parliamentary vote.A Hungarian political outsider with no party affiliation will run against Prime Minister Viktor Orban in next year’s parliamentary election after winning an opposition runoff primary on Sunday.
Small-town conservative Peter Marki-Zay defeated left-wing Klara Dobrev who pledged to support him at the head of an alliance of six opposition parties.
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“This was a battle, but we have to win the war as well,” he said, referring to the 2022 election.
The vote, which will determine the 199 seats of the Hungarian Parliament, is expected to be held by April.
Dobrev conceded defeat and sided with his former opponent. “I wish him a lot of strength … in our effort to unseat Viktor Orban and then dismantle his regime,” he told a news conference.

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Marki-Zay’s family-man image and Christian faith could appeal to lots of undecided voters. He has sought to portray himself as a palatable choice for both left-wing and conservative voters, campaigning on leading a coalition of “the clean” and promising to root out corruption.
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India: 8 dead, 20 missing as heavy rains lash Kerala

Slide Menus Show/Hide Left Slide Menu Show/Hide Right Slide Menu Show/Hide Top Slide Menu Show/Hide Bottom Slide Menu   Web Report/Dubai Filed on October 17, 2021 Rescue forces recover three more bodies in Kottayam Eight people have died and 20 have been reported missing as heavy rains continued to lash Kerala on Sunday. According to…

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India: 8 dead, 20 missing as heavy rains lash Kerala

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Filed on October 17, 2021

Rescue forces recover three more bodies in Kottayam

Eight people have died and 20 have been reported missing as heavy rains continued to lash Kerala on Sunday.
According to the Times of India, three more bodies were recovered from Koottickal in the Kottayam district on Sunday.
State ministers K Rajan, Roshy Augustine and VN Vasavan took part in a review meeting to assess the situation arising in the state at Mundakkayam, Kottayam.
The National Disaster Response Force conducted a rescue operation in Kokkayar, Idukki after the rains triggered a landslide on Saturday.
NDRF team conducts rescue operation in Kokkayar, Idukki where landslide occurred yesterday#KeralaRains pic.twitter.com/RLAhF0HxSV— TOI Kochi (@TOIKochiNews) October 17, 2021
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