COVID-19 financial assistance disbursed to 1,390, official toll only 876 in Cuddalore district

The District Administration has disbursed COVID-19 financial relief to tune of ₹6.95 crore to the kin of 1,390 persons who had died of COVID-19 in the district, while the daily bulletin puts the official number of COVID-19 deaths in the district at 876

A major discrepancy has surfaced in the District Administration’s figure of COVID-19 deaths compared to the the daily COVID-19 bulletin issued by the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the district, since the pandemic set in.

The cumulative figure on the number of deaths and relief disbursed is significantly higher compared to the figures in the daily bulletin.

The District Administration has disbursed COVID-19 financial relief to tune of ₹6.95 crore to the kin of 1,390 persons who had died of COVID-19 in the district, while the daily bulletin puts the official number of COVID-19 deaths in the district at 876.

This included 288 deaths till March 31, 2021, and 588 deaths from April 1, 2021.

Official sources said the government had ordered the disbursal of ₹50,000 from the State Disaster Relief Fund to the kin of persons whose cause of death had been certified as COVID-19. According to the release issued by the District Administration, as many as 1,792 persons had applied for the ex-gratia assistance of ₹50,000. Of them, as many as 1,390 were given the relief assistance totaling ₹6.95 crore.

As many as 13 applications were referred to other districts in the State while assistance was not disbursed to 27 others due to legal issues. The release added that the administration was unable to process 66 other applications due to incomplete address details while another 20 applications didn’t have contact numbers and address.

Sources said that the administration had already disbursed the ex-gratia amount into the bank accounts of the families. The difference in death figures was not addressed properly and despite repeated attempts, Collector K. Balasubramaniam was not available for comment.

An official in the Cuddalore Health Department on anonymity said only deaths that were certified as COVID-19 as per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were included in the daily bulletin. The Revenue Department was entrusted with the task of disbursing the relief amount, he said.

A senior official in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said deaths reported in the State media bulletin were being shared with the District Committees. He said that kin of persons who had died of COVID-19 seeking ex-gratia are also asked to apply to the Collectorate. A panel headed by the Joint Director of Health will take a call based on the report.

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