Saturday, April 25, 2020

Repatriation of bodies of expats hit

Kozhikode: The repatriation of bodies of Malayalee expats who died due to Covid 19 from the Gulf in cargo flights has been hit following new instructions issued by the Central government.
The instructions asking individual airlines to approach the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for special approval for immigration clearance of the bodies have resulted in the stalling of repatriation through cargo flights in recent days.
With passenger flights not operating in the wake of the pandemic, the bodies were being repatriated to the state in cargo flights bringing vegetables and other goods.

State government sources said that Indian embassies in Gulf countries were also asking for no-objection certificates from MHA for issuing clearance certificates for repatriation of bodies, which has caused hurdles in the repatriation process.

Expat social activist Ashraf Thamarassery based in UAE said there are 26 bodies of Indian expats that are to be repatriated from UAE alone, including two bodies of Malayalees- that of a Kayamkulam native and Kasaragod native- are stuck in Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.

Kozhikode MP, M K Raghavan, has written to the Prime Minister saying two bodies that were brought to the Chennai International Airport in Qatar Airways cargo flight on Thursday were denied permission by the ministry at the last moment.

He said that individual airlines have now been instructed that because of closing of immigration check posts (ICPs) for all incoming traffic except crew members of cargo/ evacuation flights from March 23 onwards, the immigration clearance of dead bodies has also been suspended except those which are specifically approved by the MHA.
25/04/20 Times of India
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