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MEA software glitch: In embarrassing goof-up, deceased persons told to repatriate their own bodies

Can one address a deceased person through an email? Can we greet him? India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) can.

An automated and reportedly an “unnoticed technical glitch” from Madad system, the MEA’s official grievance portal, is sending official greetings addressing the deceased Indian migrant workers.

“On behalf of deceased Indian migrant workers’ families in Telangana, I file grievances on Madad for the speedy repatriation of the mortal remains. Unfortunately, I receive mails, addressing the deceased migrant worker. The mail will also greet the deceased migrant worker too,” Bheem Reddy Mandha, President, Coalition of Overseas Telangana Associations (Cota), said. During the last two months, Reddy has received seven such mails.

One of the seven mails sent to Reddy related to deceased Indians body repatriation, sent on 26 March 2017 reads:

Dear Yeligati Rajeshwer,
A grievance has been registered by M Bheem Reddy on your behalf on 26/03/2017 as per the following description:
Mr.Yeligati Rajeshwer S/o. Mr. Yeligati Rajalingam, Emergency Certificate (EC) No. X-368962 (Issued at Muscat, Oman on 19.03.2017) and Old Passport No. F-8885706 (Issued at Hyderabad on 28.06.2006) died at Muscat, Oman on 25.02.2017. He belongs to Kuchanpally Village, Soan Mandal, Nirmal District, Telangana State. Repatriate the dead body at the earliest.
For any further assistance in this regard, please quote the following grievance ID :OM0MTR102386317.
Thanking you and assuring you of our best services at all times.
Feature for Logging and Tracking Grievances against Consular services is now also available through MADAD mobile app on iOS, Andorid and Windows Platforms.
With best regards,
Consular Services
*** This is a system-generated e-mail; please do not reply to it. This message is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged information. ***

According to Reddy, the replies are system-generated as mentioned in the mails but they read almost sarcastic. “To file a grievance on MADAD we have to enter our email ID, even if it is for body repatriation. So, when a reply comes mentioned above, it gets uncomfortable” Reddy said adding that government should fix it as early as possible.

Last December, there were reports that around 150 bodies of Indians, who died in Saudi Arabia, are lying unattended and waiting for repatriation. However, the MEA brushed aside the reports that the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia has been inactive in dispatching 150 dead bodies from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana that are lying in mortuaries and assured that the embassy is pro-actively following the cases on top priority.

Terming the figures “misleading and completely false,” MEA said there are only 10 cases pertaining to the same. On 18 March, 2017, the MEA also told the Parliament that only 14 dead bodies of people belonging to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are lying in Saudi Arabia.

Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh told Rajya Sabha in a written response: “There are only two dead bodies registered from Andhra Pradesh and five from Telangana with the Embassy of India at Riyadh for which No Objection Certificates (NOCs) have already been issued.”

He added that four dead bodies belonging to people from Andhra Pradesh and three from Telangana are awaiting formal documents before the embassy to issue the NOCs (No Objection Certificates). A bunch of documents need to be submitted to the Indian embassy before the body can be flown to India. These include medical and police reports, a letter from the family and a declaration from the Saudi government or the employer in case ‘blood money’ or compensation is being demanded.

According to statistics, nearly 10 lakh people from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are employed in Saudi Arabia. The families of the victims have many a times alleged non-cooperation from the Indian Embassy in the country. “…. The Indian Mission/Consulate in Saudi Arabia provide assistance on a proactive basis from informing the next of kin to facilitating the disposal of mortal remains either by local burial or transportation to India, in coordination with the sponsors. Death documents are attested and other assistance provided even beyond office hours and on holidays,” Singh said while adding that the issues pertaining to death cases are taken up during the bilateral consular meetings from time to time.

When contacted via Twitter for a response, the Ministry of External Affairs gave a vague response — “Plz keep tracking ur grievance on madad.gov.in. Necessary steps are being taken there.”

 MEA software glitch: In embarrassing goof-up, deceased persons told to repatriate their own bodies

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Updated Date: Mar 31, 2017 10:17:56 IST