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West Bengal: Son of man who died of coronavirus was asked to pay Rs 51,000 to see father’s body

Sagar said, “On Sunday afternoon, we received a call from the hospital saying that my father had passed away at 1 am the previous night. When we questioned why we were not informed about it, the hospital officials said that they did not have our contact information.”

A family in West Bengal has alleged that the private hospital, in which a relative died due to Covid-19, has forced them to pay Rs.51,000 to see the body. As per reports, a person named Hari Gupta passed away at a private hospital after losing the fight to coronavirus on Saturday midnight. His son Sagar Gupta alleged that the hospital did not inform them about the death for many hours.

Sagar said, “On Sunday afternoon, we received a call from the hospital saying that my father had passed away at 1 am the previous night. When we questioned why we were not informed about it, the hospital officials said that they did not have our contact information.”

On reaching the hospital, they were allegedly told that the body has already been sent for cremation. When the family reached the Shibpur cremation group, the staff present there asked them to pay Rs.51,000 to see the remains. After arguing with the staff, the charges were reduced to Rs.31,000. The family decided not to pay any fees and approached the Police for help.

When the police officer arrived at the cremation ground, the hospital officials refused to oblige to his request as well. The family further stated that the hospital staff asked the Police to go back and ask higher authorities to talk to them. When the family members tried to record the incident, the hospital staff snatched their phones.

After media pressure started to build up, the cremation authorities took Rs.2,500, which is the deposit amount for showing the body. Dhawal Jain, Howrah Corporation Commissioner, was approached for comments. As mentioned by India Today, he stated that there is a phone number mentioned at the Shivpur cremation ground “in big letter” where people can call if someone bothers them. As he had not received any call from the family members in the matter, he cannot further comment on it. He added that it is possible that the family might not have noticed the number. “We have not got any complaint yet, if one is received then it will be investigated,” he added.

Covid-19 cases in India

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India has reported 22,68,675 cases of Covid-19 so far. There are 6,39,929 active cases and 15,83,489 have been cured. 45,257 have died due to complication related to coronavirus infection.

In West Bengal, 98,459 cases have been reported so far. 70,328 have been cured and the number of active cases stands at 26,031. 2,100 have lost their lives due to Covid-19. In the past few months, Mamta Banerjee-led West Bengal government had been accused of hiding the actual number of cases/deaths and mistreatment of patients and dead bodies.

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