Sharjah: Minister for
Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi inspected an upcoming
multi-faith funeral centre for Indians on the outskirts of this
city late Sunday and handed over a cheque for AED 500,000 as New
Delhi's contribution to the AED 6-million ($1.65 million) project.
The funeral centre at Sharjah, which is being executed by the
Indian Association Sharjah at a cost of $1.65 million, is nearing
completion. The association hopes to formally open it within the
next three months.
"The committee members are trying to finish it by January-end and
we are encouraging the project," Vayalar Ravi told IANS late
Sunday at the site at Juwaiza, some 25 km east of Sharjah on the
road to Dhaid, and 15 km beyond the international airport.
Work continued even as the minister inspected the site with the
Indian Ambassador to the UAE M.K. Lokesh, Consul General in Dubai
Sanjay Verma and well-known Indian businessman M.A. Yousuf Ali,
who has contributed AED 100,000 and has offered AED 200,000 more.
The funeral centre, coming up on 8.3 acres of land donated by the
Sharjah ruler, will have an incinerator, burial places for
Christians and Muslims and a prayer hall. There are an estimated
1.75 million Indians in UAE -- the largest expatriate community
Y.A. Rahim, president of the Indian Association Sharjah, told IANS
that the incinerator will be delivered from the US in four weeks
and added that the project was coming up thanks to the support of
Sharjah ruler, His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi.
"The ruler graciously donated 8.3 acres of land free of cost. The
Sharjah municipality took up the effort of filling the land at a
cost of AED 1.1 million," he said. New Delhi's contribution has
come from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF).
The ICWF is maintained by Indian embassies and consulates to
assist distressed Indians in host countries, and the budgetary
allocation to the fund is made by the Ministry of Overseas Indian
The Indian Association Sharjah, too, has put in a large sum for
the centre apart from donations from prominent NRI businessmen
like Vasu Shroff, M.A. Yousuf Ali, S.P. Singh and the Gurdwara
committee in Bur Dubai apart from other donors.
"We started the project with AED 500,000 from our side. Now we
have paid AED 800,000," said Biju Soman, general secretary of the
Indian Association Sharjah.
Ali, managing director of the EMKE Group, handed over his
contribution at the event. "I congratulate the Indian Association
for taking the lead in realising a long cherished dream of the
poor who are unable to take their deceased near and dear ones to
The Indian community in the UAE records just over 1,200 deaths
annually. But families of many of the deceased find it difficult
to bring the body back to India due to legal procedures involved
and the high cost of air travel.
There is a crematorium in Dubai, but inter-Emirate transfer of
dead bodies often needs a lot of documentation and police reports.
The new facility also aims to ease these legal hassles.
Besides Sharjah, the new facility hopes to cater to Indians living
in Sharjah and other Northern Emirates like Umm Al Quwain, Ajman,
Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.
(Malavika Vettath can be contacted at email@example.com)