The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has launched a 24x7 helpline for the final rites of COVID-19 victims. For any help regarding the last rites for COVID as well as non-COVID-19 victims, the BBMP has launched the helpline number — 8495998495 — and has reiterated that cremations will be done free of cost for COVID-19 victims. This comes on the heels of reports that hearse drivers and crematorium staff were overcharging families of COVID-19 victims. The BBMP has also launched a Twitter handle — @BLRlastrite — to assist people in the last rite rituals.
“The official 24x7 helpline of BBMP, for ANY help regarding the final rites for the deceased due to Covid-19 and non-Covid. Contact 8495998495 !” the team behind the helpline tweeted. The helpline will be manned by 130 people in two shifts. “Our team is committed to assist a hassle-free and dignified last journey for the deceased. Please contact us on 8495998495 Whatsapp or call and tag @BLRlastrite for assistance,” the helpline added in another tweet.
The Times of India reported on Monday that a man named Prasanna, who owned and drove an ambulance-hearse van, was arrested and his vehicle was seized for asking for an exorbitant amount of money as fees. The police said that he was a regular at all the mass crematoriums in the city and fooled people into believing that government crematoriums are paid.
Deccan Herald had earlier reported that the BBMP was planning to deploy around 100 civil defence personnel across crematoriums in Bengaluru to check profiteering by private ambulances and prevent them from charging high prices.
On Sunday, May 23, the coronavirus toll in Karnataka breached the 25,000-mark as the state reported 626 new fatalities, while 25,979 infections were added afresh. The number of recoveries continued to outnumber new cases, with 35,573 patients getting discharged today, as the total number of infections in the state stood at 24.24 lakh, the health department said on Sunday. Out of the 25,979 new cases reported on Sunday, 7,494 were from Bengaluru Urban, as the city saw 12,407 discharges and 362 deaths.