Odisha train crash: Traumatic ride for drivers ferrying bodies outside the state

State transport commissioner Amitabh Thakur informed both 108 and private ambulances are being used to send the mortal remains of victims to their destinations.
For representational purpose
For representational purpose

BHUBANESWAR: Ferrying decomposed bodies isn’t new for siblings Muna Nayak and Sagar Nayak, both ambulance drivers from Bhanjanagar. But this time, the experience of carrying the mortal remains of victims of the Bahanaga train accident was traumatising and physically draining for them.

Muna has just returned from Bihar after transporting a body to a village near Patna while Sagar is on his way to Nepal on a similar assignment. In their mid-20s, the brothers work for a private agency that looks into ambulance requirements at Capital Hospital.

Muna drove at a stretch for more than 900 km on Monday night. “The stench of decomposing flesh was unbearable for both me and the deceased’s relative but we had to reach early. After reaching the village on Tuesday evening, the family asked me to take the body directly to the burial ground because the final rituals could not be performed at home owing to the condition of the body and odour,” Muna said. He drove back to Bhubaneswar immediately considering he would be required again to work at AIIMS, Bhubaneswar.

For Sagar too, this is the first time he has carried a decomposing body to a place as far as Nepal. And this is his second such trip this week. He ferried a body to Bihar on Monday and took another to Nepal on Thursday. Sagar had already travelled 1,200 km with the body with just a 10-minute break in between for tea.  

After the bodies were shifted from Balasore to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the state government announced a free ambulance service to transport the mortal remains of victims who lost their lives in the train accident. Like Muna and Sagar, there are several other ambulance drivers in the state who are currently on the job.

State transport commissioner Amitabh Thakur informed both 108 and private ambulances are being used to send the mortal remains of victims to their destinations. While 108 ambulances are ferrying the bodies to districts within the state, private ambulances are being used to send the bodies to other states.

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