The body of a 40-year-old man was kept outside the Sassoon General Hospital morgue for almost 17 hours, as the facility was full to capacity.
Morgue officials told two railway police personnel from Daund railway station who had brought the body in on Tuesday that there was no space in the morgue as they could only accommodate 32 bodies.
Efforts to have the body placed on ice elsewhere proved futile as all other morgues were also full.
The constables were forced to stay with the body all night to guard it against being eaten by stray dogs. On Wednesday at 11 am, the body was finally allowed inside the mortuary.
“On Tuesday morning, we recovered the body of an unidentified person from platform two of Daund railway station. It was later sent for post-mortem to civil hospital in Daund,” Constable V N Waghmare of the Daund railway police station said.
Waghmare added that the deceased’s name was Manikam and he was from Chennai.
“During the investigation, we contacted the deceased’s family in Chennai and they said they would reach Daund in three days. They requested us to keep the body till then, so we brought it to the Sassoon morgue,” Waghmare said.
The constable said that upon reaching the morgue at 6 pm on Tuesday, they were told that there was no space in the dead house.
“Someone named Sonka-mble said there was no space in the morgue and asked us to shift the body to Yeshwantrao Chavan Memorial (YCM) Hospital in Pimpri. We called there, but were told it too didn’t have space,” Waghmare said.
He added that when he spoke to the head of the department of the mortuary, Dr S B Punapale, he also advised them to shift the body to YCM or Aundh civil hospital.
“As we were clueless, we kept the body outside the morgue and called up our senior officials. They could not get anything done and we had to stay with the body for the whole night as there was a danger of dogs eating it,” Waghmare said.
The constable claimed that though they were told there was no room in the morgue, two bodies were admitted inside even as they watched.
Punapale denied the allegation and maintained there was no space in the morgue.
The head of the department refused to show the morgue register when asked for Tuesday’s records.
“I spoke to the policemen on Tuesday evening and left presuming they would shift the body. When I returned in the morning, I saw the body outside the morgue and asked the morgue officials to give admission as fortunately, two bodies were taken out in the morning,” said Punapale.
He added that bodies are preserved for a maximum of three days, but if the police or the family want to keep the body for more time, then the hospital obliges and no fees are charged.
No more than 32
Sassoon morgue officials said the dead house has room for only 32 bodies. They said that on an average, 25 bodies are brought to the dead house every day, of which the bodies that are unidentified need to be preserved.