Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation employees allegedly piled bodies of 12 COVID victims on top of each other and crammed in a hearse van and taken to a crematorium in Ahmednagar for last rites on Sunday, August 9, reported The Indian Express.
The AMC said it will investigate the matter and take action against the guilty, following protests from local residents and political parties.
"We have issued a notice to one of our Class IV employees who was monitoring the job of carrying COVID bodies to the crematorium and disposing of them," Municipal Commissioner Shrikant Michaelwar told the media on Tuesday, August 11.
Michaelwar said that it was the duty of the hospital administration to ensure that the bodies were properly arranged in the hearse van and sent to the crematorium.
"It seems like no stretchers were used to place the bodies on them. If there was a problem with PPE kits, they should have asked for it. We also have five ambulances in our service. They could have asked for the ambulance service as well," he said.
However, Sunil Pokharana, who is holding temporary charge as civil surgeon of Ahmednagar Civil Hospital, said that the hospital is not responsible for taking the patients to the crematorium.
"Our job ends when we hand over the bodies to the civic staff. On Sunday, there were 12-15 bodies lying with us and accordingly, after all the paperwork was completed, we handed over the bodies to the civic staff. After that, the civic staff carried the bodies to the crematorium," he said.
Meanwhile, Michealwar said that the civil hospital administration was not disposing the bodies on time and had written a letter to them on August 8, mentioning that they should take away the bodies as the bodies were decaying.
"Why did the hospital administration not dispose of the bodies in time… instead of sending them in one go by cramming them in the small space of the hearse van? It is clear that no protocol was followed by the hospital administration in disposing of the bodies… Instead of relying on a hearse van, why didn't they communicate to us that they needed more vehicles? We could have done the job," he added.
Michealwar added that they have issued a notice to the Class IV employee, who was given the duty of disposing of the bodies, asking an explanation on why so many bodies were carried together.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena's Ahmednagar unit has threatened to launch a 'Jan Aakrosh andalon'. Shiv Sena corporator Balasaheb Borate said he saw the bodies being dumped in the van when he was at the civil hospital. He has also complained to CM Uddhav Thackeray regarding the matter.
"I first raised the issue with the hospital staff and then also lodged a complaint with the civic administration. How can 12 bodies be accommodated in one hearse van? They were all piled up in the most inhuman manner… It shows how insensitive the civic and hospital staff in Ahmednagar are," Borate said.Also Read: Pune: Body Of COVID-19 Deceased Lay In Ambulance For 48 Hours Due To Delay In Test Reports