The US medical authorities are yet to give clearance for the body to be transported, owing to the COVID-19 crisis.

Photo of Sridhar with his wife and son
news Death Thursday, December 03, 2020 - 16:33

The family of Sridhar Panuganti, a software employee from Telangana who died on November 27 in New York, USA, is seeking the help of authorities to bring back his mortal remains, which is yet to receive clearance from the US medical authorities owing to the COVID-19 crisis. The medical team in Buffalo, New York has postponed the medical examination for six months, according to Sridhar’s family.

Thirty-nine-year-old Sridhar, a native of Thorrur in Telangana’s Warangal, was reportedly working for Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. He had been living in the United States for nearly five years. He was suffering from asthma and had complained to his family about breathing issues four days before his death. Though his family suggested that he get a medical check-up, he told them that hospitals were grappling with COVID-19 and that he would contact 911 (emergency contact) in case of an emergency.

Sridhar’s wife and son had travelled to India in February to attend a wedding and couldn’t return due to the COVID-19 imposed restrictions. His wife, Jhansi Rani Aluvala, has started a fundraiser to bring back his body.

“We’re stuck in India due to the pandemic and my husband was alone there in USA when this tragedy happened. What has happened is beyond comprehension and we’re all still in shock. This has created a huge impact on us as my husband was the only breadwinner of our family,” Jhansi wrote, appealing for donations.

Sridhar’s family approached Warangal MP Pasunoori Dayakar seeking his intervention. Subsequently on November 30, the MP wrote a letter addressing the Indian Embassy in New York, asking them to expedite the process to bring back Sridhar’s mortal remains so that the family can conduct the funeral rituals in his native town.

Speaking to TNM, Sridhar’s sister Sreelatha said, “It has been seven days since my brother died and we’re yet to receive his body.”

“My parents are in extreme distress. They have come to terms with his death, but they need to at least see his face for one last time,” she added, breaking down.

According to Sreelatha, the American authorities are refusing to give Sridhar’s body as the medical authorities there are yet to conduct a full examination to determine the cause of death and see if he had any other disease. “He was already determined as COVID-19 negative, but authorities still want to do some examination before releasing the body. Normally, this would take less than 3 days, but since the medical department is occupied in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, the slot for my brother’s examination has been given after six months. How can we wait for six months?” she reasoned.

Sreelatha has now approached Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao. The Minister has reportedly assured the family of all possible help through his team.

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