A family in West Bengal's Purba Medinipur district was forced to bury a 70-year-old man, who died of COVID-19, in the compound outside their house on Thursday night after waiting for 12 hours for authorities to come and take his body.
Sanatan Pradhan, who lived in a village at Kolaghat, about 80 km from Kolkata, had fallen sick last Sunday. He was taken to a hospital for a coronavirus test the next day after which he went home.
On Thursday, the family was informed he was coronavirus positive and an ambulance would be sent to take him away to the hospital.
Just after the family received the news, Sanatan took a turn for the worse and by the time the health department ambulance arrived, he was dead.
The ambulance left, saying they could not carry a body and the police would have to take care of it.
The family waited for several hours. Some officials came but only to throw two Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits into the compound of the house and inform them that Sanatan's two sons should perform the last rites.
They decided to cremate Sanatan at the village burning ghat. However, they were stopped by locals who said COVID-19 victims should be cremated away from populated areas.
In desperation, late at night, the two sons wore the PPEs, dug a grave in the compound of their house and buried their father.
In the morning, locals objected to that too as the grave was very close to a village road used by everyone. So far, there has been solution to the stalemate.
In another glaring lapse, no health official has come to take swabs of the Pradhan family to test them for the coronavirus since Thursday.
Officials did not respond to phone calls. A panchayat member said the family would be tested for coronavirus on Monday.