NEW DELHI: The three municipal corporations of Delhi came together on Thursday to claim that funerals of 2,098 confirmed Covid-19 cases had taken place till Thursday in various crematoria and burial grounds run by them in the city. Delhi government's official figure of deaths due to the pandemic was 1,085 on Thursday, just a little more than half of the figure released by the civic bodies.
In reply, Delhi government issued a statement saying it had set up a death audit panel comprising senior doctors who were working impartially for assessing all deaths.
The government release said, "The Delhi high court has also declared that the death audit committee is working in an appropriate manner and that the work of the committee cannot be questioned." "We believe that not even a single life must be lost to coronavirus. This is a time to unite and save the lives of the people. This is not the time to make allegations after allegations. We all have to fight this pandemic together and ensure that not a single life is lost due to coronavirus," the statement added.
Earlier in the day, the corporations announced their Covid-19 death toll at a joint press conference by mayors, leaders of the house and standing committee chairmen of the three bodies. Citing this, they challenged the official figure which has been released by the Delhi government.
Bhupender Gupta, standing committee chairman of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, accused the Delhi government of hiding the true figures. He said the south corporation had carried out 1,080 Covid-protocol funerals, the north corporation 976 and east corporation 42 till Thursday afternoon.
"When any hospital sends the body of a patient which is to be cremated while taking precautions according to the Covid-19 victim dead body management protocol, it sends a verification certificate from a doctor which states whether the patient is corona-suspected or corona-confirmed positive. Based on these certificates submitted in our crematoria and burial grounds, we are reporting that 2,098 corona positive bodies have been sent to us," said Gupta.
His counterpart in the north civic body, Jai Prakash, said there were additional 240 cases of suspected corona patients whose funerals were held. He said the north corporation had received 77 suspected cases, south 123 and east 40.
"On May 16, the Delhi government had issued a notice to the corporations asking for data to study the mismatch between the corona death figure of the Delhi government and the corporations. We replied to the notice on May 17," said Jai Prakash.
"Our municipal health officers collected the data from deputy health officers of the 12 zones and a report was sent. At that time, the figure was double of what the Delhi government was claiming it to be. And from May till June, the figure has remained double of what the state government is claiming," he added.