Unable to afford a private hearse for Rs 400, a man here had to carry his father's body in a cart to home after the civil hospital allegedly told him that no ambulance was available to carry the dead. The incident occurred on May 11 after Lal ji, a migrant labourer from eastern Uttar Pradesh, who had come to the hospital for treatment died there. Lal ji's son Sarbjit, who is also a labourer, then requested the hospital authorities for an ambulance to transport the body to his home.
But they told him that as per the rules, civil hospitals do not let out ambulance for carrying dead bodies, sources said. However, they said they could provide him an ambulance if he was willing to pay Rs 400, which Sarbjit denied because of lack of money, they said. Sarbjit, along with his brother-in-law, then arranged for a rehri (cart) to carry his father's body and outside the hospital premises, they hired an auto for Rs 150 to take home the body, the sources said. Meanwhile, the Punjab government today provided financial assistance of Rs 7,000 for the preservation and cremation of the body of Lal ji. Reacting to media reports over the incident, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the district authorities to look into the matter and ensure all possible assistance to the bereaved family to enable them to conduct the last rites in a dignified manner. He also directed the health department to take immediate steps to provide basic medical and related facilities at government hospitals for the common people of the state. Following an inquiry into the matter through Civil Surgeon and Tehsildar, Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar Varinder Kumar Sharma deputed Karan Vir Singh Bhullar to provide help to the family of Lal ji. A sum of Rs 7,000 has been given to Sarbjit from the Red Cross fund to meet expenses for the funeral and also the refrigeration charges to preserve the body for a day for his other son to come from eastern UP, an official statement said.
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