Patna: With mounting Coronavirus casualties, relatives and friends taking bodies for cremation at Patna Municipal Corporation-run crematorium at Bans Ghat on the banks of Ganga have alleged that the municipal staff engage in extortion.
On average, 30-40 bodies are being brought to Bans Ghat crematorium from Patna Medical College Hospital, Nalanda Medical College Hospital and AIIMS daily. Due to the overload, the staff members are asking the relatives to wait for their turn. Moreover, out of the two electric cremation machines, only one is functional which has added to the waiting time.
Today some of the relatives alleged that they had to pay an amount as high as Rs 16,000 for cremation against the fixed charge of Rs 300. However, the municipal staff claimed that the money was charged to arrange materials for cremation. The government today opened another crematorium at Gulbi Ghat in eastern Patna for the cremation of those who died of COVID-19.
Health Minister, Mangal Pandey who took cognizance of extortion for cremation at Bans Ghat said that he has asked the Patna district magistrate to probe and prevent loot during last rites.
Meanwhile, Coronavirus has affected all wings of the state- judiciary, executive and legislature. Chief Justice of Patna High Court and his wife are admitted in AIIMS. Four other judges have also tested positive. Food minister Madan Sahany has been declared COVID-9 positive too.
Over 50 members of the State Legislature Secretariats, both Assembly and Council are down with the virus. Two officers of the Legislative Council died yesterday. Entry to the Legislature Complex has been restricted and Vidhan Parishad has been closed.
Senior IAS officer Vijay Ranjan, Director of Panchayati Raj also died of Coronavirus. Two other senior IAS officers in the rank of Principal Secretary were admitted to AIIMS in Patna. Additional Chief Secretary (home) Chaitanya Prasad and Principal Secretary of Industries S Sidharth were admitted to AIIMS after showing COVID-19 symptoms. Doctors have called Prasad's condition serious. Young CID inspector Rakesh Kumar died in NMCH today.
With a shortage of beds at Nalanda Medical College Hospital, ex-army man Vijay Kumar Singh, brought from Lakhisarai, 120 km from Patna died unattended at the hospital entrance. His family alleged that no medicare was provided.
However, Health Minister Mangal Pandey claimed that he visited NMCH when the patient was brought and doctors alleged that he was brought dead. The government has advised hospital management to increase the number of beds for Coronavirus patients.
Vice-Chancellor of Patna University S K Chaudhury, two senior professors of Science College and Magadh Mahila College were also hospitalised after testing positive.
Patna Airport has also restricted the entry of passengers, allowing only those who have tested negative in the last three days. District administration has opened a control room at the airport to screen those coming from Maharashtra, Punjab and New Delhi for Coronavirus. Only those found negative will be allowed to leave the airport. Others will be sent to government-recognised quarantine centres.
In the last 24 hours, 4,157 new cases have been detected in Patna. 475 people have died of Coronavirus in the last three days. There are 171 containment zones in the state capital.