Bodies found floating in Ganga river in Bihar's Buxar district.

(Source of image: The Times of India)

On May 11, people of Chausa village in Buxar woke up to a devastating visuals of dead bodies floating in the river Ganga at Mahadeva Ghat. These bodies are suspected to be Covid patients.

Ashok Kumar, a Chausa district official said, "Some 30-35 bodies were seen floating." Also, a local said that there has to be more than 100 infected bodies in the river. The local administration believes that these bodies floated down from Uttar Pradesh as people are unable to find place to bury the dead or a huge amount is being charged for organizing proper cremation. A villager said to a reporter, as people were terrified because of Covid, a district administration official came and said they would pay Rs 500 for cleaning up the bodies. Kumar also said, “We were alerted by a local chowkidar that numerous bodies are spotted floating from upstream. We have so far recovered 15 of these. Not a single deceased happens to be a resident of the district... We cannot confirm whether these bodies are Covid-19 infected. The bodies have started decomposing. Also, proper precautions are take while ensuring that these are disposed of in a decent manner." Aman Samir, the Buxar’s district magistrate informed in a press conference that the found bodies are three-four days old. He added, “its clear that the bodies are not from Buxar but have been from UP. We have contacted officials from neighbouring districts. Boat patrolling has been decided to prevent a repeat of such an incident." KK Upadhyay, the sub-divisional magistrate stated the cremation of the bodies had begun -- he said that 12 out of 30 have been buried so far. Also, five officials are working 24X7 to clear the area. Light and generator set has been made available by the district administration. Villages situated on the banks of Ganga depends on river water for drinking purposes. Numerous villages in Buxar and adjoining Bhojpur district reported presence of arsenic in ground water. A K Singh Kushwaha, a local, said there is hardly any facility at Chausa funeral ground and that those manning the ground demands high sums for a wooden pyre.

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