After 4 months of train crash, 28 unclaimed bodies to be cremated

Bhubaneswar mayor Sulochana Das said the civic administration is ready for cremation of the unclaimed bodies as per rules.
An aerial view of the triple train crash site in Odisha's Balasore district. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)
An aerial view of the triple train crash site in Odisha's Balasore district. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: Four months after the Bahanaga train tragedy that claimed 296 passengers and left over 900 injured, the state government has initiated the process for scientific disposal of 28 unclaimed bodies, stored at AIIMS, Bhubaneswar.

The decision to dispose of the unidentified bodies scientifically was taken after last DNA samples collected from three purported relatives from West Bengal in mid-September did not match with that of bodies. The last body was handed over to relatives over a month back.  

Sources said as not many turned up to claim the bodies in the last one month and there are no pending samples for DNA cross-matching, the CBI probing the deadly train crash had requested Khurda district administration to dispose of the unidentified dead bodies.

Accordingly, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for disposal of the unidentified bodies at Bharatpur cremation ground on the city’s outskirts. As per the SOP, issued by BMC commissioner Vijaya Amruta Kulange, the assistant executive engineer of civic administration will provide two to three body carriers for smooth transportation of bodies from the AIIMS mortuary to the cremation ground.

Director of AIIMS will hand over the bodies to the assistant health officer of BMC in adherence to existing rules and guidelines of the state, Centre and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for cremation of bodies. The entire process from receiving the bodies till cremation will be videographed and BMC will deploy required manpower for hassle-free cremation under the direct supervision of cremation in-charge, the SOP stated.

Bhubaneswar mayor Sulochana Das said the civic administration is ready for cremation of the unclaimed bodies as per rules. “The SOP has been issued and required arrangements are being made to dispose of the bodies shortly,” she said.  

AIIMS had received 162 bodies in two phases from the temporary morgue at the accident spot and different hospitals where the injured passengers were treated. It started collecting DNA samples after 81 of the bodies remained unidentified and some had multiple claimants.

While 53 bodies have already been handed over to the kin of the deceased after DNA cross-matching, there were no claimants for the rest 28. “DNA profiling of around 120 samples collected from claimants have already been conducted and there are no samples pending for cross-matching,” said an AIIMS official.  

On June 2, the triple train crash at Bahanaga in Balasore district took place involving Chennai-bound Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah superfast Express and a goods train. The CBI has arrested three railway officials in this connection.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com