Angul: Tension prevailed in the district headquarters hospital here after the family members of a deceased were denied a hearse under the Mahaprayan scheme to ferry the body of a youth to the place of cremation Tuesday.
The deceased was identified as Divesh Patra (35), a native of Kulei village under Parjang police limits in the neighbouring Dhenkanal district.
He was suffering from some illness and was first admitted to the Talcher sub-divisional hospital before being shifted to the district headquarters hospital. He however, succumbed during treatment at Tuesday noon.
After the hospital authorities denied the family members a hearse, the relatives carried the body themselves out of the ward. But the security at the gate stopped them and in turn informed the hospital authorities.
Following this, some women political leaders and members of social outfits reached the hospital and intervened in the issue.
Police rushed to the spot and tried to placate the irate protestors but in vain. Faced with intense criticism, the hospital authorities finally provided a Mahaprayan vehicle to ferry the body back to their village.
The incident has come at a time when the state government has come under repeated flak over shifting of the body from hospitals to the places of cremation. The infamous Dana Majhi episode and other such incidents hogged national and international headlines.
Later, the state government launched the Mahaprayan hearse service for ferrying the body of poor people to their place of cremation.
According to sources, the poor family members failed to arrange an ambulance and requested the hospital staff for a Mahaprayan vehicle.
However, the officials on duty denied them the service, saying that the deceased hails from a place in Dhenkanal district, which is outside the district.
The district women’s Congress president Sabita Dhir, BJP city president Namita Dalabehera and party leaders Pratima Mishra and Rojalin Das along with some officer bearers of social outfits protested against the denial.
The women leaders demanded that the body be sent in a Mahaprayan vehicle as the family members do not have the money to hire an ambulance.
However, sparks flew when the additional district medical officer (ADMO) Dr Lakhsmi Narayan Bisoyi allegedly asked the women leaders to arrange money by themselves and take the body in an ambulance if they are unhappy for the bereaved family.
The body was finally carried in a Mahaprayan vehicle after the ADMO agreed to provide a hearse after several rounds of discussion. PNN