Dubai: Indian youth Gurlal Singh was five months shy of turning 26 when he died in a truck accident in Sharjah’s Al Dhaid area on February 21.
However, there was nobody to shoulder the responsibility of repatriating the mortal remains of Singh, a native of Taran Taran in the northern Indian state of Punjab, as he was on a visit visa.
It was then that the Indian Association Ajman extended its support and its general secretary Roop Sidhu coordinated with the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
82 Indians repatriated
Singh’s mortal remains were flown home early this [Friday] morning on an Air India Express flight from Dubai to Amritsar.
Singh’s is the latest case of repatriation of bodies of needy Indians supported by the mission through a community fund and free freight charges for the coffins offered by India’s national carrier Air India and its low budget arm Air India Express.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai spent over Rs6.22 million (Dh319,000) to repatriate the mortal remains of as many as 82 Indians in distress in 2019, the mission revealed to Gulf News.
The aid for flying home the bodies of Indians in distress comes from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF).
The fund covers charges for embalming, casket, ambulance and airway bill. Apart from this, the mission issued air tickets for 70 people for accompanying the bodies, a spokesperson said.
Air India offers free-of-cost service on freight charges in the case of needy expats recommended by the Indian missions here.
However, the ICWF is not meant for all, said the spokesperson.
“The Indian government sponsors the repatriation costs through the ICWF only when there is no sponsor for the deceased or the company is closed or the deceased is on a visit visa and there is nobody to bear the expenses,” the spokesperson explained.
Every dirham spent is accounted for, he said.
“We verify the genuineness of the cases before approving financial assistance from the ICWF.”
When social workers or associations are handling the repatriation procedures, the mission reimburses the money only once they produce the original bills of the expenses, he clarified.
“The consulate is doing a wonderful job whenever there is a genuine case. In most cases, I get the approval on the same day,” said Sidhu who has helped repatriate bodies of several Indians.
The spokesperson said death cases are given high priority at the Indian Consulate.
“We provide the service of cancellation of passport in all death cases even during the weekend.”
While the consulate oversees the repatriation of the bodies of needy Indians in Dubai and the northern emirates, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi does the same in the UAE capital.