A driver’s family struggles to receive his body from hospitalB&C Medical College has refused to hand over Janga Bahadur Rajbanshi’s body until the family clears his treatment fees.
On October 13, 49-year-old Janga Bahadur Rajbanshi, a driver of the passenger bus (Me 1 Kha 2651), was critically injured when the bus he was driving met with an accident in Morang. According to his family, Rajbanshi, who was driving from Dharan to Kakadbhitta, was trying to save an auto-rickshaw along the Bheri road when the accident took place.
Seriously injured Rajbanshi was immediately taken to the B&C Medical College Teaching Hospital and Research Centre for treatment. He died while undergoing treatment on October 21.
However, five days since his death, Rajbanshi’s body is still kept at the hospital. The hospital has refused to hand over the body to Rajbanshi’s family, as the bereaved family could not clear his treatment fees amounting to Rs 525,000.
As per the hospital bill, the family has to pay around Rs 600,000 as treatment fees.
“We took some loans and managed to deposit Rs 73,000 at the hospital a few days ago, but we are still falling short,” said Toran, Rajbanshi’s brother.
Since his death, Rajbanshi’s wife, Sabina, has been frequenting various government offices and social organisations seeking help to receive her husband’s body from the hospital.
The family had asked the bus operators, Dolphin Yatayat, for compensation, but the company representatives have gone out of contact, according to Toran.
“Don’t we have human rights? Why can’t we receive the body of the deceased to perform funeral rituals?” he asked. The hospital has refused to hand over Rajbanshi’s body until the family pays the remaining amount.
According to the Area Police Office in Birtamod, Jeevan Regmi, Kamal Kumar Sah, Chandra Phyual and Shiromani Paudel have investments in the transport company. The victim’s family has registered a complaint with the Area Police Office demanding the transportation company pay the treatment fees and compensate the family.
Mohan Kumar Thapa, deputy superintendent of police in Birtamod, said 13 drivers of the company have launched a protest and parked all the company buses on the Area Police Office premises.
Devi Prasad Bhattarai, central secretary of the Independent Transport Workers Association of Nepal, said Rajbanshi’s family should get relief amount, including treatment fees, as per the Nepal Labour Act, 2074 BS (2017).
Even on Friday, the victim’s family could not receive Rajbanshi’s body, as none of the operators were present in a discussion held by transport representatives and the victim’s family to sign an agreement letter.
“The grief-stricken family members haven’t even been able to mourn their beloved,” said Pukar Rajbanshi, chairman at the Rajbanshi Society Development Committee, blaming the administration on their failure to locate the representatives of the transport company.