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150 Indian Dead Bodies lying in the Country, says Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia

Indian Government is keen to prove the pro--active nature of Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia by denying Indian corpses debate

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Vikas Swarup, Twitter

New Delhi, Dec 23, 2016: The Ministry of External Affairs denied the accusation 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.

It was also stated that the embassy is actively pursuing the cases on top. Terming the figures “misleading and completely false,” MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said there are only 10 cases belonging to the same. He added that the hold-up in bringing back the mortal remains of these people to India was because of procedural delays.

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“It is factually misleading and completely false that report refers to 150 bodies from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh lying in the mortuaries in Saudi Arabia. In reality, there are only about 10 cases that pertain to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the total number of bodies is nowhere near the figure just mentioned. Moreover, the report fails to appreciate the context of diaspora community in Saudi Arabia,” Swarup stated to ANI.

He also noted that there are over two million Indians who are staying and working in the country out of which three to four death cases are written down daily due to natural causes.

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Swarup mentioned most cases are “clear cases” as per local norms and it takes around three weeks to send mortal remains even if the documents are in order.

“In cases of unnatural death, suicide, murder and also in those cases where the families doubt the circumstances of death, the investigation procedure is very lengthy causing delay in completion of documentation and transportation of mortal remains. In some cases the families demand release of compensation first before the dispatch of mortal remains whereas compensation is a legal process and it takes years in other cases,” Swarup added.

Earlier, media reports had said that families of at least 150 people from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been waiting for the mortal remains for more than a year. The inactivity of the Indian Embassy was mostly blamed for this condition.

However, with an official statement like this, it seems like the MEA authorities are taking these allegations seriously and trying to clear all accusations as Swarup mentioned how the Embassy issues no objection certificates on a 24*7 basis, mentioned ANI.

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Reportedly, four letters are needed to be submitted to Indian embassy in Riyadh to let the bodies return to the country. These four letters include medical and police reports, a consent letter from the family and a declaration that no monetary assistance would be demanded either from Saudi government or the employer. Saudi Arabia has a sponsorship system named Khafila system whereby a sponsor is responsible to complete paper work and dispatch mortal remains.

However, Swarup said, the Indian Embassy can only intervene whenever there are delays in transportation of mortal remains.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

 

 

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India & Sweden Announce The Launch Of Pilot Project To Tackle Stubble Burning

The project aims to develop technologies that can be commercialised after two years through joint cooperation between India and Sweden

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Every year, a choking smog descends on northwest India as the region's farmers burn their fields following the rice harvest. Pixabay

India and Sweden on Monday announced the launch of a pilot project to convert paddy stubble into green coal in Mohali, Punjab, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf inaugurated a bilateral high-level policy dialogue on innovation policy here.

The dialogue created a platform for key stakeholders from the government, private sector and academia to provide strategic direction for joint innovation policy formulation.

The dialogue jointly formulated and implemented short and long-term projects in strategic areas such as, but not limited to, circular economy, digital health, artificial intelligence, sustainable energy and future mobility, a statement said.

The dialogue brought together government officials, prominent industrialists as well as renowned academicians from both Sweden and India. Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation Ibrahim Baylan, and Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Health and Family Welfare, were also present for the dialogue.

The two leaders launched the Agri-Waste to High Energy Biocoal pilot project, which has been established under the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) Waste to Wealth Mission.

Stubble Burning
Farmers prefer to burn stubble and pay penalty rather than weed out the stubbles. Pixabay

The office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, in partnership with Bioendev, Sweden, has set up a torrefaction pilot plant for the conversion of agri-waste into biocoal at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) in Mohali, Punjab. The biocoal made from unutilised crop waste produces 20 times lower emissions than conventional coal.

The expected outcomes of this pilot study are: Improved air quality with reduction of crop burning; reduced emissions from use of biocoal as a clean energy source; livelihood generation opportunities for farmers as biocoal production creates new market linkages for agri-waste; soil quality improvement in fields from avoided crop burning, according to a statement.

Other major announcements made during the dialogue included:

The India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research & Development Programme in the area of ‘smart cities and clean technologies’ and ‘Digitisation and Internet of Things’, co-funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), India, and Vinnova, the Swedish innovation agency.

The project aims to develop technologies that can be commercialised after two years through joint cooperation between India and Sweden. Vinnova will provide funding to Swedish side participants up to 2,500,000 SEK as grant. On the Indian side, conditional grant of up to 50 per cent with a limit of Rs 1.5 crore per project to Indian project partners will be provided.

The Department of Science & Technology, India, and the Swedish Research Council will fund 20 bilateral projects in the area of computer science and material science under the Indo-Swedish Joint Network Grant Awards.

The Swedish Research Council will fund 14 million SEK for 2 years for this programme. The Department of Science and Technology will provide activity matching funding to the Indian counterparts.

Harvesting is done before burning stubble
On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. Pixabay

Through the Strategic Indo-Swedish Cooperative Innovation Programme, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India, and Vinnova will announce a joint programme in the area of ‘digital health’. The programme aims to provide scalable and implementable innovative, sustainable and flexible health solutions in both countries, using artificial intelligence-based technologies as a tool.

The India-Swedish Collaborative Industrial Research & Development Programme in the area of ‘smart grids’ co-funded by the Department of Science & Technology, India, and the Swedish Energy Agency was also announced. The Swedish Energy Agency has allocated 25 million SEK over the next four years for this industry-led call.

Also announced was the establishment of the new ‘Joint Centre of Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ between KTH Royal Institute of Technology and IIT Madras. The centre in Chennai is the first of four planned centres. The joint centre aims to build an entrepreneurial spirit and cross-border teams creating innovations that could target the markets in both Sweden and India, as well as globally.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences, India, and the Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden, signed a MoU on cooperation in polar science. The two ministries are committed to cooperate in the study of polar research by coordinating and sharing resources and data.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia arrived in India on a five-day state visit on Monday.

The Swedish royal couple will also visit Mumbai and Uttarakhand.

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This is the second state visit to India by the Swedish royal couple. The first was in 1993.

It is the fourth high-level exchange between Sweden and India since 2015 when former President Pranab Mukherjee was on a historic first state visit to Sweden. In 2016, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan LAfven visited India and in 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sweden. (IANS)