Imphal: In a shocking incident, the village authorities of Chingmeirong Maning Leikai in Manipur’s Imphal East district were quoted as much as Rs 19,000 as charge for disposing of the dead body of a COVID-19 victim.
As per reports, the incident happened on Wednesday when the dead body of a woman who died at RIMS due to COVID-19 on August 25 was brought for cremation.
“It cost Rs 19,000 to dispose of a COVID-19 dead body in Manipur. As a village head, I had to deal with this situation today as I’m personally informed officially that it cost this amount for the government-hiring of disposal persons, safety kits, ambulance vehicle, etc. Rs 11,000 for Imphal Municipal Corporation to cremate a lady who died in my village on 25 August,” village head and Shinglup secretary Ram Wangkheirakpam wrote on his Facebook page.
Speaking with EastMojo, Wangkheirakpam confirmed the incident and said that he was told by the additional district magistrate that Rs 19,000 would be needed as charge for cremating the dead body.
According to Wangkheirakpam, he went to DC’s office around 2 pm to submit the hard copy of the NOC after the victim’s family decided not to claim the dead body.
Unfortunately, since the victim’s only son also tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently undergoing treatment at the hospital, the village authorities had to intervene and carry out the process of NOC.
“On August 25 night, we had an emergency meeting and since the victim’s son who also tested positive and is admitted at RIMS Hospital, we took audio permission from him and on his behalf, I signed the paper saying that we will not claim the dead body and the state may dispose of the body,” said Wangkheirakpam.
He further said that after a request was made to DC Ratnabali Waikhom, the payment will now be made by the district administration’s office. “However, it is sad to know that families are demanded to pay such amount for safe COVID-19 cremation,” he added.
“Why trouble families when already troubled?” he questioned.
EastMojo tried to reach to out to Imphal East DC Ratnabali Waikhom for clarification; however, the official was unavailable for the comment.
Meanwhile, Imphal West DC Naorem Praveen said that his office incurs the expenses for any burial or cremation related to COVID-19 death and if the victim’s family refuses to claim the body.
“In fact, our office has also incurred the expenses for those victims who belong to other districts but cremated at the crematorium in Imphal West district,” said DC Praveen.