Govt. Web sites|
services | Tourism|
Indian Schools in
By Adarsh Madhavan: — Several documents and many key tasks have to be employed when
dealing with human remains. Most Indians, who comprise nearly 60 per cent of
the expatriate population in Oman, often face the grim task of transporting
the human remains to their hometown or having to cremate/bury them here.
But, many are at a loss as to what to do.
Yesterday, we looked into the key documents required by the Indian Embassy
here at the time of reporting a death case, plus the settlement of legal
dues of the deceased Indians and death compensation claims.
Today, we look at other aspects:
Disbursement of legal dues/death compensation
As soon as a cheque, representing the legal dues or death compensation, is
received by the mission, it is credited to the mission’s bank account. A
draft equivalent in Indian rupees is subsequently obtained and sent to the
district collector concerned in India for disbursal among the legal heirs of
the deceased. An intimation to this effect is also conveyed to the family of
the deceased. A receipt is taken of the disbursal, which is sent to the
Mode of disposal of bodies
Bodies can be cremated or buried or transported to India, as per the wish of
the next of kin of the deceased. Air-India (currently Air-India Express does
not offer this free facility) and Indian Airlines transports bodies free to
the international airport, which is nearest to the residence of the deceased
upon the recommendation of the mission. The relatives of the deceased are
expected to receive the body at the airport.
Local/burial/cremation of the body
The mission, upon a specific request of the next of kin, takes the help of
the Indian community members for the burial/cremation of the body in Oman. A
fee, amounting to RO7.800, is charged by the mission for the registration of
death in the embassy register.
Local cremation of the body is carried out at Sohar Crematorium, which is
around 220km from Muscat. An amount of RO70 is charged for the process of
burial. Burial charges (at the burial ground owned by the municipality) is
RO50 (including transport). This money is generally paid either by the
friends/relatives of the deceased through contribution among themselves or
by the sponsor, if the latter agrees.
Airlifting of the body to India
Air-India (currently Air-India Express is not providing this free
facility)/Indian Airlines regularly transport the human remains of Indians
to the international airport, which is nearest to their (the deceased’s)
residence. This has to be conveyed to the nearest office of the airline in
India. The next of kin should also ensure that their consent — that they (or
their representatives) would be there to receive the body — is forwarded to
the airline’s office in Oman. Bodies are accepted by the cargo of the
airline concerned only after they obtain the consent from the receiving end.
Role of Air-India and Indian Airlines – 2004
l Air-India transported 137 bodies to India during 2004
l 111 free air tickets were provided to accompanying passengers
l Air-India allows 50kg of the belongings of the deceased
l Air-India attended 25 stretcher cases, plus, they were (since the A-I
Express does not offer these services) 25 per cent lesser than any other
airlines in Oman
l Indian Airlines transported 60 bodies last year. However, they do not
provide free ticket(s) to the accompanying passenger.
l Indian Airlines allows 40kg of the belongings of the deceased
l Indian Airlines attended nine (9) stretcher cases during 2004.
Times of Oman
Wording important: Word the letter (from the next of kin of the deceased)
properly. “It is of great importance,” stressed Jabir.
One of the key documents required by Indian Embassy in such cases is the
letter from the next of kin. This letter must state his/her consent about
the mode of disposal of the human remains and also whether the post-mortem
is required to be conducted or not.
“Now, there is a specific way in which this letter must be worded. Care must
be taken to ensure that it is worded exactly as required by the authorities
here. It must be clear and concise, giving no room for speculation.
Ambiguity must be rooted out, for it will only succeed in delaying the
process,” Jabir warned.
But, the letter can be sent in their mother tongue. “This is not a problem.
And, we can provide the exact wordings if required,” he said.
A-I Express should help: Air-India Express should make efforts to carry
human remains of Indians free from Oman, social workers told the Times.
“We hope that authorities of Air-India Express would please consider this
humble request. Air-India has done a lot and we really thank them from the
bottom of our hearts. But ever since the switchover to AI-Express, they have
not been providing this free service,” Jabir and Gopakumar, told the Times.
Air-India has transported 137 bodies to India last year. It has provided 111
free tickets to accompanying passengers during the same year. The airline
also allowed more than 6,850kg worth of belongings of the deceased (it
allows 50kg worth of belongings of the deceased/per body).
Indian Airlines, meanwhile, transported 60 cases last year. They, however,
do not provide free tickets to the passenger.
Indian Airlines has allowed for more than 2,400 kg worth of belongings of
the deceased at 40kg per body. While Air-India attended 25 stretcher cases
last year, Indian Airlines attended 9 stretcher cases. “We would like to
appeal to Air-India Express to please consider our request and continue
carrying the remains of Indians free,” Jabir and Gopakumar said.
Expenses: Sending a single body back to India will cost around RO264.800.
“Again, we cannot say that this would be a fixed rate. It may vary between
RO250 to RO270 per body,” Jabir noted.
l Embalming the body would cost around RO110
l The coffin would cost around RO60/RO70
l Transportation (of the coffin to the airport – mostly from interior
locations): RO20 (minimum)
l Cargo handling charges: RO37
l Miscellaneous: RO20
No actual count: So many bodies have been sent by Jabir and his dedicated
team. “I have really lost count. I must have, with the help of my team, sent
several 100 bodies back to India,” Jabir said.
Other than in assisting in sending the bodies back, Jabir also helps in the
cremation part of the bodies here. “We have helped cremate at least six
bodies this year,” he noted. He attributes this to the “amazing network”
that they have in Sohar. “There are some devoted social workers in Sohar,
who are really amazing. They will help without even a murmur,” Jabir said,
relating many incidents where the ‘Sohar network’ came out of the blue to
help. Jabir, meanwhile, revealed that it wasn’t Indians alone that called
for help. “Sometimes, even locals would call us,” he said, recalling cases
where Omanis called him, requesting for help to send their organisation’s
dead Indian personnel back to India. “Most of the time, these would be from
small organizations with just one or two staff.”
Good efforts: S. N. Gopakumar yesterday reiterated the need to not only
thank, but also recognise the efforts of the officials at the Indian Embassy
and couple of lawyers who have helped formalise this ‘what to do when an
Indian dies’ guideline to the lay public. “While I would like to spell out
my heartfelt thanks to all the officials of the Indian Embassy, I would also
like to thank the advocates Hassan and Girish of Hassan bin Mohsin bin
AbdulGani — lawyers and legal consultants based in the CBD, who have greatly
contributed in making this a solid, reference guide,” Gopakumar said.
Badr Al Samaa offer: Badr Al Samaa Polyclinic yesterday offered their
ambulance facilities (to transfer dead bodies to the airport) to those
families/relatives/friends of deceased Indians who are unable to bear the
cost. “This free facility is only for those who are unable to pay the cost,”
a spokesperson of Badr Al Samaa, said adding that this message was aimed at
many of the Indian expatriates who had no means of sending the human remains
of their relatives, friends, etc.