Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Dubai-Kerala Air India Express crash: Two months on, victims’ families still await valid death certificates, government compensation

Dubai: Two months after the Dubai-Kozhikode Air India Express flight crash, the families of the victims told Gulf News they have not yet received valid death certificates, let alone compensation from the government.

The names of more than a dozen among the 19 passengers, who died along with the pilot and co-pilot after the crash, have been incorrectly spelt in the death certificates, leading to delay in obtaining legal heirship certificates, they said.

The ill-fated flight IX1344 carrying Indians from the UAE amid the COVID-19 pandemic crashed while landing at the Calicut International Airport on the rainy night of August 7.

Dr Sajjad Hussain, brother of Sahira Banu, 29, who died along with her 10-month-old son Azam Muhammad, told Gulf News over the phone from Kerala that most of the death certificates had spelling mistakes because of which the names of the deceased did not match with those in their passports.

“More than a dozen families had requested for corrections and only a few of them have obtained the corrected certificates so far. We urge the authorities to speed up the procedures to issue the corrected certificates and help us obtain the legal heir certificates which are required for further legal proceedings,” he said.

While they have received the interim compensation from Air India Express (AIE), the families said they are yet to receive the same announced by India’s Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri and the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan a day after the crash.

AIE had announced an interim compensation of Rs1 million to the next of kin of the deceased passengers aged 12 years and above, Rs500,000 to those of passengers below 12 years, Rs200,000 to passengers who were critically injured and Rs50,000 to other passengers injured in the incident.

As reported by Gulf News in September, the airline had completed the process of disbursement of interim compensation to all the injured passengers by the end of August.

Family members of the deceased on Tuesday confirmed that they have also received the interim compensation by AIE.

However, they said they did not receive the same amount in compensation announced by the central and state governments of India. They added that they were also yet to receive the aid from Dubai-based Indian businessman Dr Dhananjay Datar who had pledged to donate Rs2 million in total to families of the victims.

According to Indian media reports, both Puri and Vijayan had announced a compensation of Rs1million to the families of the deceased. Puri had also announced Rs200,000 each for those who suffered serious injuries and Rs50,000 for those with minor injuries.

“This is over and above all the other compensations, which might be forthcoming from different agencies, insurance of the aircraft etc.,” Puri was quoted as saying.

Also, Vijayan reportedly stated that if any further assistance was required, the state government would take an appropriate decision to support them to get back to normal life.

07/10/20 Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News

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