Four years on, ‘just’ solatium still eludes kin

7:28 PM, Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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Air indiaMangalore : Four years after an Air India Express flight from Dubai crashed in Mangalore, killing 158 persons on board, the relatives of children and women victims say they are yet to get the rightful compensation as enunciated in the Montreal Convention.

It was in the early morning of May 22, Flight 812 that departed Dubai at 1.00 UTC, overshot the runway at the Mangalore airport on landing, fell over a cliff and caught fire. There were 160 passengers and six crew members, of which only eight passengers survived.

Mangalore Air Crash Victims Families Association president Mahammad Beary, who lost four of his family members, told  that majority of the relatives of the victims have been paid the compensation up to Rs. 75 lakh as per the Indian Carriage by Air (Amendment) Act.

However, the next of children and women victims were paid Rs. 30 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh, which the association has objected to. Cases are pending before the Supreme Court seeking “just compensation”, he said.

Association Secretary Jayasimha Shetty said there were discrepancies in payment of compensation to the relatives of adult male members, where Air India followed income criteria. While there was a proposal to set up a memorial for the crash victims near the airport, the same is yet to see the light of the day. On the other hand, the Airports Authority of India has said that it has almost complied with the recommendations made in the inquiry report, including widening roads around the airport and the one near the crash site.

Meanwhile, Mangalore-based 812 Foundation, which took birth following the air crash, is said to be contemplating to file a revision appeal before the Supreme Court, after all its petitions seeking directions to the central government to enhance air travel safety in the country, were dismissed. One of the functionaries of the foundation told The Hindu that it would take the fight to a logical end to ensure that air safety, including the rolling stock and infrastructure, is accorded paramount importance. – The Hindu

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