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Air India will bring the mortal remains of loved ones from abroad at ‘flat rate’

PW Bureau 

From earlier this month, the “flat rate” for direct Air India flights has been around 40 percent less than the average cost of transferring bodies from Middle Eastern countries New Delhi: Indian families dealing with the grief of losing a loved one on foreign shores often end up taking on tedious paperwork and the unanticipated consequence of paying through their pockets to bring home the bodies. However, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India have found the answer to this problem, following many rounds of discussions. Now, the government has asked Air India to charge a “flat rate” from families of the deceased.

Finally, a solution

The task of bringing back bodies from Middle Eastern countries, where the Indian diaspora has reached close to 80 lakh in recent years, has especially been challenging. On an average, about 10 Indians die in the region each day, mostly due to road accidents and natural causes, official estimates say. The flat rate has been negotiated with the national carrier’s flights from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. From earlier this month, the “flat rate” for direct Air India flights has been around 40 percent less than the average cost of transferring bodies from these countries, said officials, adding that transporting bodies of children less than 12 years old will cost half the “flat rate.”

Charges set according to weight of body

Additionally, Air India will set its charge according to the weight — the more a body weighed, the higher the expense. Officials added that the cost of transferring each body could range between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, and at times, more than that.