Saturday 2 February 2019 3:45 AM UTC
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Feb 2: Kerala govt to repatriate mortal remains of expatriates free of cost. Norka will bear the expenses, according to the state budget presented on Thursday by the Kerala finance minister.
Fulfilling a long-pending demand of non-resident Keralites (NRKs) in the Gulf countries, the state government has announced that the mortal remains of expats will be flown home free of cost.
Norka, which is the department of Non-Resident Keralite Affairs, will bear the expenses, according to the state budget presented on Thursday by Kerala’s finance minister, Thomas Issac.
The state with over two and a half million diaspora in the Middle East region – with over a million in the UAE – has also allocated Rs240 million for Santhwanam project to assist NRKs who lost jobs.
Speaking to Khaleej Times over the phone from Kerala, K. Hariksrihnan Namboothiri, CEO of Norka, said modalities will be worked out soon to implement the new announcement.
“The government has earmarked a budget for the purpose. We are looking at various options to simplify the process. We will announce the modalities at the earliest.”
Currently, Indian missions in the UAE give financial help to deserving families or workers who cannot afford the expenses. In normal cases, companies are responsible to transport the mortal remains of their deceased employees, and social workers and Indian missions assist in the process.
Many expatriates and social workers from the South Indian state welcomed the decision saying “it is a huge favour for Keralite expats”. “I applaud the Kerala government for this decision. We have been pressing for this for many years.
Expatriates who contribute millions of rupees in foreign exchange deserve this,” Ashraf Thamarasherry, a social worker told Khaleej Times. “I really hope all other state governments, especially Tamil Nadu and UP that have high number of expatriates, will follow suit.
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