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Maharashtra: Thane resident asked to collect his own COVID-related death certificate

Thane man, who had recovered after contracting COVID in August 2020, was 'declared' dead by May 2021.

A 55-year-old teacher of a school in Ghatkopar, received a call from the Thane Municipal Corporation on Tuesday only to learn that he has been declared dead by the civic body. Chandrashekhar Desai, a resident of Manpada in Thane, reportedly received a call from TMC, asking him to come and collect his death certificate.

According to Desai, he himself took the call of the woman employee of the health department of Thane Municipality, who informed him that she had called regarding the issuance of the death certificate of Chandrashekhar Desai.

“She told me that the TMC wanted to issue the death certificate of one Chandrashekhar Desai. When I told her that she was speaking to Chandrashekhar Desai she was surprised and asked if anyone else in the family had died or been infected to covid,” Desai said adding that the caller later hung up.

TMC shrugged off the responsibility saying the name was in the list of ICMR: Desai

Upon receiving the call, Desai rushed to the office of the civic body to know further details. He said that the TMC officials, initially, had a very cold response to his questions. They showed him a printout of a death certificate, which clearly mentioned his name and address. Not wanting to take the onus of the blunder, the officials told Desai that his name was in the list of ICMR. “But my question is how can the name crop up in the ICMR list if it is not sent by the Corporation”, said Desai adding that the department eventually assured him that necessary steps would be taken to rectify the mistake.

“It was shocking. I shudder to think that if I had forgotten my phone at home and my wife or elderly mother picked up the call. They would have panicked with the news. I hope it is rectified soon and that I do not face any problem due to the same,” said Desai. He said he has submitted a complaint to the authorities.

“My family and I are in a state of shock. If this is not rectified soon, I will find it difficult as the records state that I am dead,” added Desai.

According to the school teacher, he had tested positive for Covid 19 in August 2020 and was subsequently cured after receiving treatment at his house. During his quarantine period, Desai had received a call once to inquire about his health.

However, according to the TMC’s records, Desai tested positive in August 2020, and was in home quarantine till May, when he lost his life. 

Thane Municipal Corporation calls issuing a death certificate to an alive man a “technical error” by ICMR

Speaking about the gross error, TMC said it was a “technical error” in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reports that come from Pune.

“There is a list that is issued by the state government, which comes from ICMR, Pune. It includes all those who have died outside Thane city, but are residents of Thane. Due to some error, Desai’s name was also part of this list, however, TMC has not issued any death certificate. It was just a verification call and we have now rectified the mistake as well,” said Naresh Mhaske, mayor, Thane.

Meanwhile, the TMC commissioner, Vipin Sharma explained that there is a process the civic body follows to track the deaths. “This is a part of our routine. We regularly get updates from the state government, including reconciled deaths as well. Many times, deaths happen outside Thane city. Hence, we verify before updating our records”, said Sharma, adding that a similar verification call was made to Desai as well.

Sharma further added that there have been multiple instances in the past when the person does not pick up the call. In such situations, TMC sends its officers to their residences for verification. “This is a part of our protocol”, explained the TMC commissioner.

Regarding Chandrashekhar Desai’s case, Sharma confirmed that the concerned department has made the necessary updates.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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