COVID-19 in Bihar: Patna civic body run crematorium loots dead patients' relatives; demands Rs 12,000-16,000 to perform last rites

Patna: Nothing like cashing in on adversity. The adage seems to hold especially true of civic staff at Patna Municipal Corporation-run crematorium on the banks of Ganga.

On an average, 30 to 40 bodies arrive at Bansh Ghat crematorium from Patna and Nalanda Medical College hospitals and AIIMS.

Due to the rush, the staff ask the relatives to wait for the turn of their Corona dead. A part of the problem is that out of the two electric cremation machines, only one is functional.

On Wednesday, some relatives alleged they had to cough up as much as Rs 12000 to Rs 16000 for cremation, as against the fixed charge of Rs 300. However, the municipal staff claimed the extra money was being taken to arrange special material for the last rites.

Health Minister Mangal Pandey, who took cognizance of the extortion, has asked the district magistrate of Patna to probe and prevent the loot in the name of last rites.

Jawan dies unattended

In another instance of poor health infrastructure in Bihar, an ex-army man, V K Singh, who was brought from Lakhisarai,120 km from Patna, died unattended in a vehicle at the entrance of the Nalanda Medical College building.

"My father was COVID positive. Other hospitals refused to admit him, NMCH hospital agreed. They made us wait outside for one-and-a-half hours," the patient's son was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Son Abhimanyu Kumar said they brought him to Patna on Monday evening and took him to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. But the doctors there refused to admit him as there were no beds available. So, he was taken to a private nursing home, where he was admitted for a few hours.

Around 10 am on Tuesday, they went to the Nalanda Medical College. But at the hospital, everyone was busy with the inspection by the health minister.

Health Minister Pandey claimed he was on the hospital premises when the patient was brought in and doctors had told him he was brought dead. Nonetheless, the government has advised the hospital management to increase the number of beds for Corona patients.

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