No ambulance, two Ludhiana families forced to ferry the dead in auto-rickshaw, cart
Two families in Ludhiana were forced to take bodies of corona victims for cremation in auto-rickshaw and cart in the absence of ambulance services.
As the videos of bodies being transported without following due protocols were circulated on social media platforms, the district administration intervened and announced to form a committee for making necessary arrangements to cremate bodies of Covid victims.
Bhagwan Shah, 67, had succumbed to virus on Sunday evening at the civil hospital. On Monday, when his family reached the mortuary to take the body for cremation, no ambulance was available. His wife claimed that private ambulance operators were demanding ₹3,500 for ferrying the body to cremation ground in Dholewal.
She said as she couldn’t afford a private ambulance, they hired an auto-rickshaw for the purpose in ₹150. She claimed that she was not aware of the protocols for cremating the Covid victims.
Kin of another patient, 60-year-old Kanta Rani of Focal Point, took her body on a cart. Her son also claimed that no government ambulance was available and a private operator was demanding a hefty amount.
According to Covid protocols, employees or volunteers wearing PPE kits are supposed to ferry the bodies to cremation grounds in ambulance.
Taking note of the incident, Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Sukhjivan Kakkar said he will personally investigate the matter and would take action.
Dr Amarjit Kaur, senior medical officer, civil hospital, said the families were mounting pressure on hospital employees to hand over the bodies to them. “However, the bodies of Covid victims cannot be released to families in such a way,” she said, adding that she will inquire into the matter and take action.
Ludhiana deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma has set up a committee for ensuring necessary arrangements in the crematoriums and graveyards for cremating, burying bodies of those succumbing to Covid-19 in the district. He added that the committee can also engage NGOs for ensuring proper arrangements as per rituals.