Families forced to shell out money to dispose off bodies

Families of COVID-19 victims are forced to grease the palms of mortuary workers at the Government Hospital here and attenders at the graveyard in Pachur, say welfare organisations.

As per the standard protocol specified by the Union Health Ministry, the body of a COVID-19 victim has to be placed in a plastic bag. The body bag can be wrapped with a mortuary sheet or sheet provided by the family members.

But, the mortuary workers charge money for the body bag and the mortuary sheet in the range of ₹ 3,000. Attenders at the graveyard at Pachur demand ₹ 7,000 or more for cremating the body. The amount is purportedly for purchasing firewood for disposing off the body. ‘This is quite disturbing. The plight of poor families is unimaginable,’ V.R. Dhanaseelane, president, Karaikal District Citizens’ Welfare Association, said, adding senior officials do all they can to make sure that the sorry state of affairs do not get to the notice of higher-ups in Puducherry Government. The public expect the new government to set right the situation. The district administration should expedite the process of establishing an electric crematorium, he emphasised.

Officials at the Government General Hospital, however, denied any knowledge of the approach of the mortuary workers. ‘There is no shortage of the packing materials. The issue has not been brought to my notice so far,’ Resident Medical Officer Madhan Babu said. The local body must make sure that the fallen branches of trees due to forceful winds recently are chopped and stocked in the graveyard for cremating the bodies, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 1:37:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/bodies/article34746042.ece

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