The family of a municipal staffer who died during the Covid-19 pandemic is running pillar to post to get the documents required to prove eligibility for Rs 50 lakh compensation under the central government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) scheme for frontline workers.
Bhagwan Dange, 57, a garbage loader in Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department posted in P-south (Goregaon) ward, died on May 17 in the BMC-run Dr B A Ambedkar Hospital (Shatabdi) at Kandivali west while being treated for suspected Covid-19-related complications. Dange’s family members have alleged that 10 months after his death, Shatabdi Hospital has not shared the RT-PCR report, X-ray of chest and sonography report.
“My mother and I have written three to four letters to hospital authorities to give us these three reports. But every time they gave us some reason and refused to give reports,” Yuvraj Dange, son of Bhagwan Dange, told The Indian Express. “Later I was told that they lost all reports. I was shocked to hear this.”
Bhagwan died due to acute respiratory distress syndrome. “Since he was a suspected COVID-19 patient we were not allowed to see him. Hospital staff preformed the last rites in the crematorium in Borivali,” said Yuvraj.
The family alleged that the hospital staff altered the death summary report of Dange. “In the report, for COVID-19 status the hospital staff had first written positive, but later cancelled it and wrote negative next to it,” added Yuvraj.
After his death, Dange’s family got letters from the BMC’s labour department to submit documents under the claim policy. “The solid waste management department was proactive, and they approached us to process the claim, but in the absence of relevant documents we can’t go ahead. On March 15, another letter was sent from P-south ward office to submit RT-PCR, X-ray and sonography report. But we are helpless,” said Yuvraj.
When contacted, Dr Pratima Patil, Chief Medical Officer (I/C) of Dr B A Ambedkar Hospital, said, “I am aware of the issue. We are seeking help from the laboratory that did the Covid-19 test to get the report.”
As per BMC data, 197 civic frontline and health workers died due to COVID-19 and over 6,000 tested positive. As per the procedure, the BMC first sends applications of claims of COVID-19 warriors to the central government under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). If the claims are rejected, the BMC steps in to give them Rs 50 lakh compensation and a job to one family member as preferential treatment (PT) case scheme.
The BMC has so far paid compensation to over 55 civic staffers and the applications of 63 civic staffers are pending with the central government while they have approved 17 applications.