Thane teacher gets call from civic body to collect his own death certificate

TMC said it was a “technical error” in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reports that come from Pune
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Published on Jul 01, 2021 12:13 AM IST
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ByAnkita G Menon, Thane

Thane

A Thane resident received a call on Tuesday afternoon from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) to verify the address and name of one Chandrashekhar Desai, a 55-year-old schoolteacher.

The reason: To collect Desai’s death certificate.

The problem: A baffled Desai himself took the call, after which the stunned woman caller enquired if anyone else from his family had died from Covid-19 or tested positive recently. After cross-checking, Desai said every other detail was correct. Except, of course, that he was very much alive.

In response to the blunder, TMC said it was a “technical error” in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reports that come from Pune. According to TMC’s records, Desai tested positive last August and was in home quarantine till May, when he lost his life. The truth, Desai said, was that he was in quarantine only for a week, after which he recovered and tested negative.

Desai, who teaches in Ghatkopar, was at work when he received a call from the TMC, “It was shocking, I shudder to think that if I had forgotten my phone at home and my wife or elderly mother picked up the call. They would have panicked with the news. I hope it is rectified soon and that I do not face any problem due to the same.”

Desai visited the Thane civic body to find out about the mistake and they showed him a printout of a death certificate, which clearly mentioned his name and address. He said, “I have submitted a complaint letter to the authorities. My family and I are in a state of shock. If this is not rectified soon, I will find it difficult as the records state that I am dead,” said Desai.

“There is a list that is issued by the state government, which comes from ICMR, Pune. It includes all those who have died outside Thane city, but are residents of Thane. Due to some error, Desai’s name was also part of this list, however, TMC has not issued any death certificate. It was just a verification call and we have now rectified the mistake as well,” said Naresh Mhaske, mayor, Thane.

According to a senior health officer from TMC, “There was a technical error and we are looking into it. There is no involvement of the TMC. Only a verification call was made by the civic body.”

Vipin Sharma, commissioner, TMC, said, “We have a complete process to track deaths. This is part of our routine. We regularly get updates from the state government, including reconciled deaths as well. Many times, deaths happen outside Thane city. Hence, we verify before updating our records. A similar verification call was made to Desai as well. There have been instances in the past when the person does not pick up the call and we send our officers to their residence for verification. This was part of our protocol and the concerned department has made the necessary update.”

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021