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BJP alleges underreporting of Covid deaths by PCMC administration, civic chief says each death accounted for

In a letter sent to Patil on Sunday, BJP corporator Seema Savale has alleged that the PCMC tried hiding 979 deaths in April alone.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: April 25, 2021 8:06:12 pm
A crematorium in Pimpri Chinchwad

The BJP, which is the ruling party in the PCMC, has alleged that the civic administration led by Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil was underreporting Covid-19 deaths. The civic administration has, however, denied the allegations, saying each death was being accounted for.

In a letter sent to Patil on Sunday, BJP corporator Seema Savale has alleged that the PCMC tried hiding 979 deaths in April alone.

“In the last 23 days, from April 1 to 23, the last rites of 1,820 people, who died of Covid-19, was carried out. However, the PCMC in its press release has claimed that during the same 23-day period, 841 deaths have occurred,” she said.

Savale also said she had come to the conclusion after inspecting the registers of Covid deaths at four crematoriums in the industrial city. “I inspected Bhatnagar crematorium while our workers and leaders verified the figures at three other crematoriums,” she said.

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Savale further said, “In Bhatnagar crematorium at Pimpri, the last rites of 743 people were performed in the 23-day period. Similarly, in Bhosari crematorium last rites of 601 were performed, 358 in Nigdi and 118 in Sangvi. The deaths are of those from PCMC limits and outside civic limits. The letter ‘K’ is written before the name of the deceased to indicate that the person has died of Covid. A perusal of the register shows that 1,820 people died of Covid during the 23-day period.”

Another BJP leader, Sarang Kamtekar, who also inspected the register at the civic-run crematoriums, said, “The PCMC releases a daily report of those who test positive and number of deaths in the last 24 hours. On April 1, it put out a figure of 2,851 deaths. And on April 23, it released a report mentioning 3,692 deaths. This means, in the 23-day period, the PCMC claims that 841 people died. However, in the registers kept at all the four crematoriums, the collective figure is 1,820. We suspect the PCMC is trying to hide figures… In this case, at least 979 deaths have not been accounted for,” he said.

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Kamtekar also said there were 25 crematoriums under PCMC limits. “Therefore, we suspect the figure is much more than what is being reported,” he added.

Savale said one of the reasons behind underreporting could be the administration’s inefficiency. “It reflects how inefficiently the PCMC administration is functioning. It needs to take action against the guilty.”

Kamtekar added, “If the PCMC has actual figures on hand, it will help the administration take more rigorous steps to contain the situation. Similarly, people will become more alert and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour stringently.”

The PCMC chief said, “This is not true… Covid cremations were happening at only four crematoriums where electrical facility is available. Only last week, we allowed non-electrical cremations. That too only at five places. Where is the question of that happening at all crematoriums?”

Patil added, “There is a delay of one to two days in updating and reporting, which is done by every hospital and not us. But that doesn’t mean figures are not reported. Every death is accounted for in the final count. I don’t encourage any irregularity.”

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