Action on Andhra officials for letting Covid victim's body be towed away

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A municipal commissioner and a sanitary inspector of a town in Andhra Pradesh were suspended for allegedly permitting the local civic staff to tow away the body of a Covid-19 victim with an earth mover to the cremation ground on Friday.

The incident happened in Palasa-Kasibugga municipality of Srikakulam district. Collector J Nivas suspended municipal commissioner T Nagendra Kumar and sanitary inspector N Rajeev, after a video of the municipal staff carrying the packed body of a 72-year old Covid-19 victim in the front portion of the a JCB earth mover went viral in the social media and was flashed in the television channels in the afternoon.

A senior official in the Srikakulam information department said the deceased, who had worked as a Class IV employee in the municipal office in the past, was already ailing and suffering from comorbidities. He succumbed at his residence in Udayapuram area on Thursday night.

“The doctors of Palasa government hospital said they would have to conduct Covid-19 tests on the body as per the protocol. On Friday morning, it was revealed that he was Covid-19 positive,” the official said.

While the family members had not come forward to cremate the body, the neighbours brought pressure on the municipal authorities to take the body from the area at the earliest.

“Since it was a small town, there was no ambulance facility to take the body to the cremation crowd. The municipal authorities thought of bringing ambulance from Srikakulam, but the neighbours were not willing to wait till then. Hence, the municipal commissioner had no option but to shift the body to the cremation ground using an earth mover,” the official said.

He said none of the family members came to the cremation ground though the municipal staff offered them PPE kits and masks.

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