Mangalore air crash victims for more compensation
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 20:31
  
Kochi: An association of Mangalore air crash victims' families on Thursday said it will struggle for higher compensation to the families of the 158 persons who perished in the air disaster last year.

As per international judgements, the compensation will be more than Rs 75 lakh which would be decided through negotiations, Mangalore Air Crash victims Family Association President Mohammed Beari, said.

The association has engaged a Swedish law firm to negotiate with the insurance underwriters company and the two sides will hold a sitting on July 28 in London, he said.

"The fight is not yet over," Beari, who lost four family members - elder brother's wife Zulekha (45) and three women relatives, en route to Mangalore to attend a marriage, said.

Yesterday, the Kerala High Court, acting on a petition by the parents of B Mohamed Rafi (24) had directed AI to pay Rs 75 lakh each to families of those killed. This is the highest compensation awarded in an air accident in India.

As per Montreal Convention, one lakh SDR (Rs 75 lakh) should be paid under fault or no fault liability. But if pilot error is proved, then quantum of compensation will be more, he said.

Abdul Salam says the attitude of legal officials engaged by AI forced him to wage a legal battle for higher compensation.

"I was told I can claim compensation only between Rs 25-35 lakh and the airline was prepared to give Rs 35 lakh," Salam, who lives in northern Kasaragod district said.

The Court had yesterday held the petitioners are not liable to be discriminated by AI, restricting compensation with reference to age, income or dependence of family members.

Salam said former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had announced Rs 76 lakh compensation after the crash to each of the victims families. "However, later we heard that the national carrier was giving different compensation for different people," he said.

Salam says AI had offered compensation ranging between Rs 20 lakh to Rs 99 lakh. Some took it while others refused. His family was called to Mangalore and 'insulted' by the counsel, he alleged.

'I am a fisherman and all my hopes were on my son Rafi'. Rafi, who could not attend his sister's wedding, was coming home to meet relatives a month after the marriage when tragedy struck.

At least 65 of those killed are from Kasargod, bordering Mangalore.

Salam says he was happy that his fight would bring relief to all those who had lost their dear ones in the tragedy.

Habeeb Rehaman, who lost five family members -- brothers Mohammed Ashraf (36), Ahamed Naushad (30), Ashraf's wife Maimuna (32), and their two young children aged two and five, his relatives were coming to attend the marriage of Naushad fixed on June 13.

Rehaman said his family was happy with the verdict. Civil Aviation minister Vayalar Ravi has also welcomed the verdict, he said.

The Mangalore crash was the first major plane accident in the country on an international route since ratification of the Montreal Convention by India in 1999, which lays down guidelines and compensation standards for passengers in an International air accident that became effective for India from June 30, 2009.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 20:31


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