Andhra Pradesh

Residents oppose funeral of COVID-19 patients near village in A.P.

A sample being taken from a patient. Photo for representational purpose only.

A sample being taken from a patient. Photo for representational purpose only.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Mild tension prevailed at Annangi, a remote village near Maddipadu in Prakasam district, on Sunday as the residents opposed the authorities who went there to select a site for the disposal of bodies of coronavirus patients.

The villagers staged a noisy protest during the Gram Sabha held by a team of officials led by Revenue Division Officer Prabakar Reddy, which had identified a ‘hill Poramboke’ land for the purpose.

Grama Sabha

The Grama Sabha was held on the directions of Prakasam Collector Pola Bhaskar to allay the fears of the people pertaining to the issue. The officials explained that all infection prevention control protocols would be duly followed while disposing the bodies.

The health workers would wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the process and the bodies would be packed in leak-proof plastic bags. However, the explainations failed in convincing the villagers.

Police intervene

The villagers feared that the drinking water source would get polluted if the bodies of the COVID-19 patients were cremated at the selected site. A posse of police led by Ongole Deputy Superintendent of Police K.V.V.N.V Prasad ensured that the Gram Sabha passed off smoothly.

Residents of more than 100 villages consume the water from the Obul Redddy Gundalakamma reservoir nearby, the villagers said, adding that the creamtion of bodies might trigger the spread of the virus.

Fear of virus

“The positive cases would go up in geometric proportion in Maddipadu mandal which has reported 22 positive cases till date, if the bodies of COVID-19 patients were brought here for the funeral,” the residents said.

The disposal of the bodies of the COVID-19 patients is emerging as a daunting task for the administration.

In a similar incident, the officials could not perform the funerals at another isolated ‘hill poramboke’ site selected near Yerrajerla earlier. The villagers opposed the move to disposal of the bodies close to the site selected for the YSR Housing scheme.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:46:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/residents-oppose-funeral-of-covid-19-patients-near-village/article32060109.ece

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