Gauravdeep Singh Narang lost his life in a tragic car crash last month. An online petition started by his brother Hardip Narinder Singh Narang is now calling on TAC (Transport Accident Commission) to consider changing their rules so that bereaved families like his can be covered for the cost of repatriating ashes to India as part of the last rites of a person killed in a road accident.
The cremation of Gauravdeep Singh Narang who lost his life in a tragic car crash while on his way back home in Melbourne last month, was held on September 12.
However, his remains are still waiting to be repatriated to his aged parents in India, because of the huge cost involved in the whole process.
- 27-year-old Gauravdeep Singh was delivering food to Point Cook when the collision cut his life short
- TAC rejected the claim to support the expense of repatriating Gauravdeep’s ashes to India
- Petition to change TAC rules to consider last rites after cremation to be part of funeral expenses has attracted over 450 signatures
The 27-year-old international student was on his way home after finishing his day’s work as a food delivery driver when he died in a tragic car crash last month.
Whilst his elder brother Hardip Narinder Singh Narang, who lives with his wife and daughter in Melbourne, was able to attend Gauravdeep’s funeral on September 12, but their elderly parents could not due to their mother's ill health and the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Their parents' only wish is to receive their son's ashes in India, so they can at least conduct the last rites.
Financial help to support the funeral and cremation expenses was provided by TAC (Transport Accidental Commission), but the claim to support the expense of repatriation of the ashes to India was rejected.
Inconsolable after losing his younger brother, Mr Narang says, “ever since this tragedy happened my elderly mother who has paralysis has gone into grave shock and her health is deteriorating every day and she could not travel to Australia to perform last rights of Gauravdeep’s cremation.”
TAC has rejected the claim to support the expense of repatriation of Gauravdeep’s ashes to India
In a statement to SBS Punjabi Mr Narang said, “I am now the sole breadwinner of the family and don’t have the means to support everything on my salary as a chef here. I also have to repay Gauravdeep’s education loan and support my elderly parents emotionally and financially.”
“I requested TAC to support us to repatriate my brother's ashes to India so that my parents could perform his last rights according to our tradition because as per our culture there is a ritual of immersion of the ashes after the cremation and without that the cremation is considered incomplete. But TAC rejected my claim to support the expense of taking Gauravdeep’s ashes to my parents in India,” Mr Narang told SBS Punjabi.
Mr Narang says he has started an online petition demanding that TAC should consider last rites and rituals to be a part of the funeral expenses. It has already attracted over 450 signatures.
He says, “We consider ourselves covered by TAC as we pay a heavy premium on our registration, but there are many small issues which TAC’s policy, and this could make big difference in people’s life.”
“According to the current policy, TAC covers the funeral and cremation cost if someone dies in a road accident in Victoria, but these laws only cover the funeral cost as per Australian culture and do not support the cost of last rituals performed in our culture,” said Mr Narang. "Since Australia is a multicultural country, rules and laws must reflect various cultural needs."
Under Transport Accident Act (1986) there is no provision to pay for international travel for repatriation.
TAC is a Victorian Government-owned organisation whose role is to promote road safety, support to those who have been injured or died in a road accident.
In a statement to SBS Punjabi, a spokesperson from TAC said, “there is no provision in the Transport Accident Act (1986) to pay for international travel for repatriation.
“The TAC is able to fund the cost of the funeral and cremation – maximum payable under this benefit is $16,200”
“TAC covers the reasonable cost of travel and accommodation in Australia for immediate families to attend the services, if their residence is more than 100km away (up to $5,400.00),”
“Under the Transport Accident Act 1986, the TAC can only pay for services inside Australia.”
The grief-stricken family has also set up a GoFundMe page and has been able to raise around $40,000 to enable Mr Narang to help repay Gauravdeep’s education loan that he took to fulfil his Australian dream.
Click on the player in the lead image to listen to the interview in Punjabi.
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