Post-mortem house: Only 1 of 8 freezers functional

Ghaziabad: As the pandemic continues to rage on, seven out of the eight deep freezers installed by a Himachal Pradesh-based private company at a post-mortem house in Ghaziabad have been found non-functional during an inspection conducted by a team of officials from the district administration here. Ghaziabad's District Magistrate has ordered an enquiry into the matter and an FIR

against the company has also been lodged against the company on the basis of a complaint filed by Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

According to the CMO, the Himachal based company — Esteem Industries Inc., headquartered in Solan district, was appointed in 2019 to install eight deep freezers and entrusted with their maintenance for the next three years. However, the machines stopped working within a few days of being installed. When the administration and the health department wrote several letters to the company, an official from the service department came and repaired the defunct machines but soon they started malfunctioning and were found defunct in a few days.

As per a staffer of the post mortem house, on an average, around six to eight bodies come at the mortuary daily. "As the deep freezers are non-functional, the bodies are kept under fan or on ice slabs, if provided by relatives of the deceased. It is very difficult to work in such a miserable condition while the hot weather these days is also creating trouble as the workers have to wear PPE kits while conducting the autopsy. There remains a huge risk of

infection as the bodies are left to decompose without any

proper cooling mechanism," a worker said.

"Since these deep freezers have been installed at the post mortem house, the officials and maintenance staff of the private company have only once repaired/serviced them. We have been sending them complaints about non-functioning of these deep freezers but no one from the company had visited to repair them," said Dr

Narendra Kumar Gupta, CMO, Ghaziabad while adding that currently, the post mortem house has only one functioning deep freezer.

Meanwhile, police have registered an FIR under IPC sections 420 (punishment for cheating) and 406 at police station Kotwali in Ghaziabad. Also, a complaint has been filed at the consumer court as all the deep freezers are under warranty but repair service is not being provided.

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