The Delhi government has learnt from the Municipal Corporations of North and South Delhi that a total of 426 cremations or burials at six designated cremation/burial grounds have been marked as "Corona positive" till May 16.
According to an Indian Express report, the Delhi government's official health bulletin issued on May 21 put the number of COVID deaths in the city at 194. The government informed that the civic bodies had not provided documents to back their claim on the numbers.
A mismatch between the death toll put out by the Delhi government and four hospitals was reported earlier. The numbers provided by the hospitals were significantly higher. According to Delhi Health Minister, Satyendar Jain had the hospitals were not sending information to the government's Death Audit Committee on time.
The Delhi Health Secretary Padmini Singla, on May 16, had asked for details of cremations and burials which occurred at the Nigambodh Ghat and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums and the ITO graveyard of bodies of people who either had or were suspected to have COVID-19, following which the civic bodies had furnished the information.
On being asked about figures provided by the two civic bodies, the Delhi government spokesperson informed they had received the reports from both corporations. It was further said that there was a lack of supporting documents and reports for bodies which were claimed to be positive.
"The Health Bulletin reports death as declared by the Death Audit Committee. In the report submitted by the MCDs, a significant number of cases did not have the necessary documents. After studying all the reports, the number declared by the Death Audit Committee was found to be accurate," the government spokesperson was quoted as saying.
"It is requested that copies of the register having details of such cremations/burials of COVID-related deaths (positive and suspect), along with supporting documents like lab reports, doctor's certificate, etc, may be sent to this department," Singla had in her order seeking details from the MCDs. It was made clear that all supporting documents must be provided.
The civic bodies in their response to the government on May 17, had divided the cases as 'corona positive' and 'corona suspected'.
According to the North corporation, cremations/burials of 202 'COVID positive' bodies were recorded from Nigambodh Ghat (191), the "Muslim burial ground" at Mangolpuri (10), and the "Christian cemetery" at Mangolpuri (1). The North corporation also stated that 50 cremations of 'COVID suspected' bodies were recorded from Nigambodh Ghat.
Its Southern counterpart reported 224 'Corona positive' cremations or burials with 162 at the Punjabi Bagh crematorium, 61 at the "ITO kabristan", and one at the Madanpur Khadar burial ground. The South MCD stated that in the case of 'Corona suspected' bodies while 15 were cremated at Punjabi Bagh, 68 were buried at the ITO graveyard.
The director of press and information, North corporation, informed that a response has been issued to the government. The South corporation spokesperson too confirmed that the data has been sent. The reports were prepared by the health departments of both civic bodies.
According to North MCD's standing committee chairperson Jai Prakash, the data is based on entries made by staff at cremation/burial grounds on the basis of information provided by hospitals. The head of the standing committee of the South MCD, Bhupender Gupta shared the view.
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