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Sharmili Mallick

Bargarh: The body of a Covid-19 patient was reportedly left abandoned for over 20 hours after villagers refused to help the family in his cremation at Ghanamal village under Padampur block of Bargarh district.

Though the family members of the deceased contacted the officials of district administration, they could get help only after a day of the death of the patient.

As per reports, 66-year-old Satyananda Sahoo was tested positive for Covid-19 on April 17 and was in home isolation. However, his health condition worsened and he succumbed to the disease in the evening of April 20.

Following his death, Sahoo’s family members informed the district administration immediately but did not get any help for the cremation the same day. Sahoo’s family members also requested the villagers and sarpanch for help in his cremation but they refused.

Later the next day, members of Sankalpy Parivar and Western Odisha Yuva Mancha (WOYM ), two non-profit organisations engaged in social activities in the region, reached the village and informed the Sub-Collector.

The Sub-Collector, who was also in self- isolation asked to inform the matter to the Block Development Officer (BDO). When they informed the BDO, the officer told them to contact the Gram Panchayat Officer (GPO).

Later, the social activists informed the Bargarh Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) about the incident. The CDMO sent a hearse van and finally the last rites of Sahoo was performed at around 2 am on April 22.

“No one, neither the district administration nor the villagers, came to help me in conducting the last rites of my husband,” alleged Sahoo’s wife.

“Neither neighbours, villagers nor the district authorities lent them a helping hand for the cremation. We called the Padampur Sub-Collector for help but he asked us to contact the BDO. When we called the BDO, he told us to contact the GPO. Later, the GPO told us to inform the Sarpanch. No one came forward to discharge their duties,” alleged a member of Bargarh Sankalp Parishad, Bikash Kumar Goud.

On the contrary, Rajborasambar BDO Shankarsan Behera said that though assistance was sent to Sahoo’s family in the evening of April 21 but as the villagers of Ghanamal refused to help them, they could not perform his cremation.

“As no one helped the officials of district administration, the members of Bargarh Sankalp Parishad came forward to assist the bereaved family,” added the BDO.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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