Bengal keeps vigil for corpses in Ganga

Corpses of suspected COVID-19 patients were found floating in the river in UP and Bihar

The West Bengal government has stepped up vigil in the areas where the Ganga enters the State, after reports of corpses of suspected COVID-19 patients found floating in the river in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Senior government officials on Thursday spoke to their counterparts in the Bihar administration and urged them that corpses should not come downstream. The Ganga enters West Bengal in Malda district, particularly in from areas in the Manikchak police station limits.

Officials of the district police and the forest department have been patrolling the river in the regions over the past few days. Boats and speed boats have been kept ready.

Malda District Magistrate Rajarshi Mitra has said that so far there are no reports of any corpses floating in the river in the district. If any corpse is found floating in the river, it will be disposed of as per COVID-19 guidelines, he added.

The river enters Malda from Jharkhand and then flows in Murshidabad district where at Farraka, it bifurcates in distributaries, the Padma that enters Bangladesh and the Hooghly that flows southwards across several districts of the State before meeting the Bay of Bengal at the Sagar Island.

West Bengal Minister and chairman of the board of administrators of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Firhad Hakim said it was a matter of great concern if corpses of suspected COVID-19 patients come downstream into West Bengal.

“I am very scared. We are using the river water after proper treatment. Civic officials have been directed be more cautious. This is all because of the callousness of the Uttar Pradesh government,” he stated.

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