The West Bengal government on Friday stated that the last rites of all coronavirus-infected victims will be carried out free of cost amid complaints of fleecing by middlemen at crematoriums and burial grounds.
According to the state government order, the urban development and municipal affairs department will have to appoint nodal officers for all 124 municipal corporations in the state’s 23 districts, including Kolkata, to supervise the cremation and burial processes. Also, coordinators have been appointed for arranging hearses for the deceased.
“There were reports that middlemen at crematoriums and burial grounds are fleecing families of Covid-19 victims. After conducting a probe into the matter, the department has decided to appoint nodal officers to supervise the cremation process,” a senior official told PTI news agency.
A state control room number (033-2214-1995) and another helpline (18004191198) have been launched by the department to answer people’s queries and address their grievances, he added.
The Bengal government has also ordered the shutdown of all shopping malls, beauty parlours, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas and swimming pools in the state with immediate effect until further orders, amid the surge in COVID-19 cases on April 30.
All forms of social, cultural, academic, entertainment-related gatherings and congregations have been prohibited in the state for the time being in the state. Bazaars, market places will be allowed to operate twice every day — from 7 am-10 am and 3 pm-5 pm.
Activities related to the electoral counting processes and victory rallies will be guided by the Election Commission protocols, the order said.
Medical shops, medical equipment outlets, grocery stores, along with home delivery services, have been kept out of the order’s purview.
Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and other legal provisions as applicable, the order stated.