Cashing in on the surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in privatehospitals, some of the crematoriums in Hyderabad along with heartless, avaricious middlemen, are offering pricey packages for performing the last rites of those who died with COVID-19. 

There are differing packages available for the last journey, from mortuary to burial ground.  Middlemen are reportedly offering packages that can go up to Rs 80,000 each.

All this is happening because, due to lack of space in mortuaries, hospitals are asking the relatives of the deceased to take away the bodies. The relatives are forced to look for ambulances and freezers to preserve the bodies until the next day for funerals as they can’t take the bodies home due to COVID-19 protocol.

Sai Teja, an activist from Feed the Needy, said, “One of my friend’s colleague was charged Rs 82,000 by a private hospital in Kukatpally, stating that they will arrange an ambulance. The ambulance charged such a huge amount for a distance of just 6 km. In another incident, a private ambulance charged Rs 32,000 for ambulance and a freezer as a person expired in a private hospital and the hospital refused to keep the body overnight.

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The hospital asked family members to take away the body due to lack of mortuary. Crematoriums do not accept bodies after 7pm. With mental agony and left with no other alternative, the patient’s family had approached us as we are offering the last ride services in Hyderabad. They are seeking help; so, we have to preserve the body till morning. So, we arranged an ambulance with freezer to keep the body for the night and cremated the body next morning.”

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He further added, “The cost for keeping the body in freezer, along with the ambulance, had cost Rs 32,000. In this Covid second wave, the government should work on alternative arrangements in cases where private hospitals are not able to preserve the bodies and crematoriums will not take bodies after 7pm, as per COVID SOP, bodies can’t be taken home or apartment. It is a sad state of affairs that for preserving a Covid corpus body for one night cost Rs 32,000 due to lack of mortuary and no options left to pay proper homage to the Covid deceased patients”.

Vinay Vangala, a social activist in Hyderabad said: “Many of our loved ones have lost their family members due to this pandemic and still some are on death beds. We can only support them with our love and care during this crisis. It is very unfortunate that they have been harassed by the middlemen from mortuary room to burial ground”.

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He adds, “Everyone has to go through this process; it will not be different for the people who are harassing the affected families during the difficult time. The Govt has to give proper guidelines to ensure the burial grounds are charging as per the prescribed rates to save public from this looting. Middlemen are demanding about Rs 80,000 amount as a package from mortuary to burial ground. There is no bill for this entire affair”. #KhabarLive #hydnews