Even as 2,048 Covid deaths have been registered with Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) till now, 2,361 applications from their kin for ex-gratia of ₹50,000 have been received.
The corporation said that it has taken a conscious decision to approve as many as possible if the death is due to Covid, no matter where the residence is.
The number of deaths registered with the corporation is based on the residential address of the deceased. If the person who died in a Navi Mumbai hospital is a resident of Thane, his death is registered there.
“But when people have made the applications, even residents outside Navi Mumbai whose kin were admitted in Navi Mumbai and then died, have also applied and hence the number of applications we received are more than the number of deaths registered here,” Dr Pramod Patil, medical health officer from NMMC, said.
The Medical Officer of Health (MOH) forwards the applications to the Designated Officer (DO), who decides to accept or reject them. Then it goes to the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and then to the State. NMMC commissioner, Abhijit Bangar, had given instructions to his team that they should try their level best to sanction each application and not reject.
“Our conscious focus is on how to sanction each application. Death Certificate and proof of kinship is the most important document required in this. Some do not have death certificates. So, we decided that any supporting document that proves that the person who died was due to Covid will also do,” Bangar said.
In the absence of the Death Certificate, NMMC contacts the hospital for their records for the cause of death. There are cases wherein the person was not tested before his death for Covid and hence Indian Council of Medical Research doesn’t have information on whether the person was Covid positive or not. This has happened majorly in emergency cases. So, in such cases, looking at the symptoms the patient had and the lung damage, doctors have certified it as a death due to Covid.
For proving kinship, ration card or any other document that shows the relation is also accepted.
“The biggest challenge in these applications is correct documents. Many are unaware of the documentation required,” Dr Patil said. If any application is rejected, the applicant has a redressal system as well and can apply to the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC).
Of the 2,361 applications, 136 are pending at DO level, 119 applications recommended for rejection by DO, 198 are pending at GRC and payment has been sanctioned of 1,404 applications.