Petition in SC has sought directions for constituting a three-tier committee to look into the disposal
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and other authorities to form a committee to ensure the dignified disposal of bodies of COVID-19 victims. It referred to the recent reports of floating corpses found in the Ganga in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
The petition has sought directions for constituting a three-tier committee at the Centre, State, panchayat, the rural and municipality levels to look into the disposal of bodies.
Vineet Jindal, in his petition, said the disposal of bodies of COVID-19 victims in rivers could have a devastating effect on the drinking water supply of cities and villages situated on the banks. There was an apprehension of the transmission of diseases as well, he added.
“It is respectfully submitted that the dead bodies of COVID-19 affected persons are being buried on the banks of rivers. Sand covering the bodies is blown away by strong winds, exposing the decomposing bodies,” the petition, filed through advocate Raj Kishor Choudhary, said.
The petition arrayed the Centre, the National Mission for Clean Ganga, the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments, and the pollution control boards of the two States, as respondents.
It sought a direction to the authorities to remove all such bodies and restore the ecology of the riverbeds.
The petition also sought to declare the riverbed of the Ganga an ecologically sensitive area and, hence, be protected and preserved.
It said directions should be given to the authorities concerned to provide safe drinking water to those living near the river banks.
The petition sought directions to the authorities to immediately take appropriate steps to either conduct door-to-door COVID-19 tests or organise medical camps in areas where bodies were found along the banks to prevent the infection from spreading.
It also sought directions to take appropriate measures to vaccinate those residing adjacent to the banks of the Ganga.
The petition said the poor did not have the resources for a proper burial and the authorities should be directed to take strict action against those who charge money in the name of performing last rites at crematoriums and graveyards.
“In order to ensure that dignity is upheld during handling of bodies, the cremation/burial ground staff must be sensitised about proper handling of the body,” it said.
Necessary safety equipment and facilities should be provided to the staff at cremation and burial grounds so that they could perform their duties efficiently and without any fear or risk, it added.
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