CHENNAI: When Janaki Radhakrishnan in Chennai came to know about her father’s demise two weeks ago, she immediately applied for an e-pass to travel to Tirupattur district to see her father for the last time. However, the web portal to apply for the pass was rejecting her application each time. Reason: Janaki didn’t have a copy of her father’s death certificate. As her relatives in Yelagiri couldn’t obtain the certificate in time, a tearful Janaki had to watch her father’s final journey over a video call.
Janaki’s is not a single incident. Several others applying for e-passes to travel to other districts to attend funerals are facing a difficult time as the portal asks for proof of death to sanction the pass. It only accepts a death certificate or a certificate from hospital or a letter from the Village Administration Officer as proof.
With tears rolling down over his face, Aravind, son of Janaki, said, “Since it was a natural death, we did not have any paper from hospital. Getting certificates from village offices takes days. It took one and a half day for getting the VAO’s certificate.
By the time we reached Yelagiri, everything was over.” V Dilip, who wanted to travel from Chennai to Vellore, had to face similar problem. “Even for natural deaths, the officials are pushing for early funeral. When my grandmother died, the death certificate could be obtained only after hours. So, I saw her last time over a video call.
Missing the last rites of your loved ones is extremely painful,” he said. “Death certificate is not the first thing that comes to mind when somebody dies,” said M Vikram, who wanted to travel from Chennai to Madurai. “We cannot ask for death certificate from a mourning family. In the case of death, they must allow some other proof which can be availed immediately,” said Vikram. When contacted, an official said restricting travel is the most important part of containing the pandemic. “ Without proper proof, we cannot accept applications, “ he said.