Death certificates delayed in Hyderabad as GHMC staff busy with land reform scheme

GHMC personnel are out in the field, verifying properties for Dharani, an upcoming online portal for land-related records.
A dead body is being carried into an ambulance by health workers
A dead body is being carried into an ambulance by health workers
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It was on September 7 that Robin Zaccheus, a Hyderabad-based activist, lost a relative to COVID-19. When the family tried to get hold of a death certificate from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), it took close to a month for their application to be processed. This, despite the stipulated time to generate a death certificate being seven days. 

Speaking to The News Minute, Robin said, “If the delay was 10 days, we can understand, but the delay was 30 days. There are several people who need a death certificate to apply for pensions and other formalities. The certificate should not be delayed. Officials are postponing it.”

Robin said that he had seen many applicants running from pillar to post as he too kept visiting the GHMC office to enquire about his application. After much delay, Robin took to Twitter and questioned authorities. Following this, he said that he received a call from GHMC personnel who mentioned that the certificate was ready and could be collected from the Mee Seva portal.

But not many can voice their opinion on Twitter like Robin. There are several individuals who are being made to wait, while they were already coping with the loss of their loved ones, he points out. 

When contacted, sources in the GHMC said that several staff members were involved in work for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) ‘Dharani’ scheme. The state government is launching Dharani, an online portal through which land-related records would be made accessible. The move is part of larger land reforms undertaken by the state government, which included abolishing the Village Revenue Officer (VRO) system and passing a new Revenue Act in the Telangana Assembly. 

Speaking to TNM, an Assistant Medical Health Officer from GHMC said, “Most of the GHMC staff are out on the field as they are evaluating the properties in the city to incorporate them into the Dharani portal.”

Additionally, unlike other states, the death rate of COVID-19 is low in the state. The entire state only reports around 10 deaths each day due to the coronavirus and it’s total death toll since the pandemic began is 1,189. Critics have often attributed this to the low rate of testing in Telangana. The state government was conducting only 200-odd tests well into the pandemic and even at present, is only conducting 5,600 tests per day, even as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh tests around 60,000 samples per day. 

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