Red Volunteers, comprising members of the youth and student wings of the CPI-M, today laid to rest a 45-year-old man who died of suspected Covid-19 in Alipurduar district.

The man was a resident of Jahadipara in the Birpara Madarihat block and he died after suffering from high fever last evening.

With no other male member in the family to conduct the funeral, the man’s neighbours refused to help them, it is learnt.

The man is survived by his wife and two daughters, it is learnt. Local sources said that the family members of the deceased were awake all night beside the body in the house till 10 am today.

“We repeatedly called the BDO staff members and BDO madam for help. A hearse was arranged for, but we could not afford it as the family is very poor. The family could neither afford the cost of the hearse not buy wood to burn the body. We carried the body in a tricycle van and buried it beside the river near the house. Local villagers allowed us to do so by breaking the tradition of the family,” said Red Volunteers’ leader Biswaroop Saha, who is the secretary of the Madarihat-Birpara local committee of the DYFI.

“The BDO office provided us only four PPE kits with which we took the body out of the house and carried it to the burial ground,” Mr Saha said.

Local people wondered why the block administration failed to arrange for the man’s funeral in a district where the District Magistrate himself had reached out to poor Covid patients at their doorsteps with food and other aid.

When contacted, DM Surendra Kumar Meena said: “I am not aware of the matter. I will find out the truth before I comment on the issue.”

The district health department was, however, aware of the man’s illness and the death, it is learnt.

“It is very sad. Our health workers had repeatedly requested the person to go to the hospital and undergo Covid test, but the person refused to do so,” said the Alipurduar Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Girish Chandra Bera.