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Funeral centre for Indians opens in Sharjah

Sajila Saseendran / 21 February 2013

SHARJAH - A multi-faith funeral centre built with the support of a number of philanthropists and Indian and UAE governments was dedicated to the Indian community in Sharjah and Northern Emirates on Thursday.

The facility, off Sharjah Airport Road, is expected to ease legal hurdles and procedural delays faced by the relatives of the deceased in Sharjah and Northern Emirates when they opt for taking the bodies for cremation in the Jebel Ali crematorium in Dubai or back home.

Shaikh Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Public Works, declared the facility dedicated to the Indian community in the presence of senior Indian officials and a state minister.

Spread across 8.3 acres opposite the Sharjah Cement Factory in Al Sajja, the facility is not just a final abode for the community members. It is an example of Sharjah government’s magnanimity and the Indian expatriates’ contribution to their community.

The land for the funeral centre was donated by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The donation came after the need for a decent crematorium for the Indian expatriates arose.

The facility will be operational from next week, according to Y.A Rahim, president of the Indian Association Sharjah (IAS), which began executing the over Dh5-million project  in 2010 with half-a-million dirham capital investment. Designed to have four gas cremators for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists as well as separate burial grounds for Muslims and Christians, the facility will begin functioning with one cremator.

“We have placed an order for one more cremator and paid for it too. It will be available by mid-March.”

Rahim said the money for the first cremator (Dh325,000) had been donated by Dr B. R. Shetty, MD and CEO of NMC Group of Companies. Another Dh300,000 was donated by EMKE Group Managing Director M.A. Yousuffali.

In November 2012, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi handed over a cheque for Dh500,000 from the Indian Community Welfare Fund. This came after a proposal by Indian Ambassador to the UAE M. K. Lokesh. Following the proposal, the minister expanded the scope of the fund that is collected through a Dh10 fee from Indian expatriates when they avail each consular service.

Consul-General of India in Dubai Sanjay Verma had also pitched in to pool contribution from other members of the Indian community. On his recommendation, the Gurudwara Committee in Dubai offered Dh325,000 to the funeral centre. The Indian Community Welfare Committee under the patronage of the consulate contributed Dh100, 000. The same amount was donated by hotelier S.P. Singh Oberoi as well.

Apart from an administrative office, waiting areas for ladies and gents, landscaped areas and a garden are also part of the project.

The event was also attended by Andhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Minister Sudheer Babu, MP from Kerala A. Sampath, Kerala MLA and ex-minister K. Muraleedharan and Labour Consul and Head of Chancery at the Indian Consulate in Dubai M. P. Singh.


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