Covid-19 crisis: 52 more bodies found floating in Ganga in UP’s Ballia

NCMG DG directs authorities in UP and Bihar to take measures ‘immediately’ to stop dumping of bodies in the river

Covid-19 crisis: 52 more bodies found floating in Ganga in UP’s Ballia

Police personnel look on as bodies are being buried on the banks of river Ganga in Chausa village, in Buxar. PTI

Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12

Recovery of floating dead bodies in the Ganges continued for the third consecutive day, as after Buxar (Bihar) and Ghazipur (UP), now Ballia witnessed similar disturbing scenes with the local administration claiming to have fished out 52 corpses from the river.

In the meantime, taking a serious note of such cases, the Director General of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Rajiv Ranjan Mishra has written to authorities in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar asking them to take measures “immediately” to stop dumping of dead bodies in the river.

So far 52 dead bodies have been found floating the Ganges near the Ujiyar, Kulhadia and Bharauli ghats in the Narahi area of Ballia and all of them have been retrieved and the process of their “respectful” disposal the deceased is underway, a district official told media persons.  

In a statement issued late on Tuesday night, Ballia District Magistrate Aditi Singh had said some bodies in a decomposed condition were seen floating under the Ballia-Buxar bridge. She further said Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Rajesh Yadav and Circle Officer Jagveer Singh Chauhan are probing the matter and the last rites of the deceased were performed with due respect.

Even as Buxar is downstream to Ballia, the officials in the district said, possibilities of bodies coming from the Bihar side can’t be ruled out.  “The distance between the Bharauli and Ujiyar ghats in the Narahi police station area of Ballia, and the Mahadev ghat in Buxar is around one kilometre. The direction of wind over the river is towards Ballia,” a senior district official said.

Meanwhile, in its directive to the authorities of the two states concerned, NMCG asked them to “immediately stop dumping of dead bodies, partially burnt bodies/unclaimed or unidentified corpses in the river Ganga and its tributaries”.

In the notice NMCG DG said, “All unidentified dead bodies/unclaimed corpses of suspected Covid victims should be properly disposed of in accordance with the Covid-safety protocol of Government of India Guidelines on Covid-19 Dead Body Management.”

The DG further directed the officials concerned to ensure strict vigilance along the length of the river within the territorial jurisdiction of the district to prevent and check such future incidences of people dumping dead bodies in the Ganges and its tributaries and of any other activities hazardous for the rivers and health and hygiene of the area.

“Take necessary action to address the issue at the earliest and submit an Action Taken Report to NMCG within 14 (fourteen) days,” the DG said in the directive.

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