Acute shortage of hearse vans and ambulances, especially in the rural areas of Nagpur district has forced many middle class and families of rural area to carry the bodies of Covid victims to the crematoria in private vehicles. The situation gets worse, when the person or family don’t have a private vehicle and so are forced to carry the bodies on whatever they can get.
One such incident was reported in Butibori’s Juni Basti locality where a Covid deceased patient was taken to the crematorium in a garbage van. A similar incident was reported in Hingna tehsil where a body was taken in a tempo from Lata Mangeshkar Hospital to city’s Ambazari ghat for the last rites.
A senior official from Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) health department confirmed that relatives of Covid deceased were facing severe difficulties to arrange for a hearse van or an ambulance to take the bodies from hospitals and homes to crematoriums.
Everyday the NMC is receiving calls from hospitals like Lata Mangeshkar Hospital (Hingna), Swami Vivekananda Hospital (Khapri), Gaikwad Hospital (Khapri) for a hearse van or an ambulance to allow relatives to transport bodies to crematoriums,” the official said.
According to residents of Juni Wasti in Butibori, in the last one week, at least two Covid deceased were taken in garbage lifting vehicles to crematorium (on May 13, Jairam Neware (45) and on May 18, Shakuntala Khandare (70) – who died while in home isolation). “Both the bodies had been taken in a garbage van of Butibori Municipal Council,” social worker and a resident of Butibori, Tushar Darekar, told TOI
Relatives of Covid victims from rural Nagpur says that even if they manage to find an ambulance, drivers charge anywhere between Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 for even a short distance.
Unlike NMC, which has pressed 11 hearse vans and four minibuses for ferrying bodies to crematoriums, there are no such arrangements made in Nagpur rural areas resulting in such circumstances.