AP: Earthmover used to transport COVID victim’s body; staff suspended

When the family members did not come forward to cremate the body, their neighbours had urged the municipal authorities to remove the body from the area at the earliest

A video of the municipal staff carrying the packed body of a 72-year old Covid-19 victim in the front portion of the JCB earthmover went viral on social media and was played on many television channels. Representational Photo: Wiki Commons.

Local civic staff used an earthmover machine to transport the body of a COVID-19 victim to a cremation ground on Friday (June 26) in Andra Pradesh. A municipal commissioner and a sanitary inspector of the Palasa-Kasibugga municipality of Srikakulam district were suspended for allegedly permitting the happening.

Collector J Nivas suspended municipal commissioner T Nagendra Kumar and sanitary inspector N Rajeev, after a video of the municipal staff carrying the packed body of a 72-year old Covid-19 victim in the front portion of the JCB earthmover went viral on social media and was played on many television channels.

The deceased, who had worked as a Class IV employee in the municipal office in the past, was already ailing and suffering from comorbidities, a senior official in the Srikakulam information department said. He passed away at his residence in Udayapuram area on Thursday (June 25) night.

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“The doctors of Palasa government hospital said they would have to conduct COVID-19 tests on the body as per the protocol. On Friday morning, it was revealed that he was COVID-19 positive,” the official said.

When the family members did not come forward to cremate the body, their neighbours had urged the municipal authorities to remove the body from the area at the earliest.

“Since it was a small town, there was no ambulance facility to take the body to the cremation crowd. The municipal authorities thought of bringing ambulance from Srikakulam, but the neighbours were not willing to wait till then. Hence, the municipal commissioner had no option but to shift the body to the cremation ground using an earthmover,” the official said.

He said none of the family members came to the cremation ground though the municipal staff had offered them PPE kits and masks.

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