Misplaced four of household to virus, siblings now battle debt

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, October 3

Twenty-one-year-old Gary and his 16-year-old brother Prabhudass were still recovering from the shock of death of three family members when they got the news of their mother’s demise today. All four lost their lives to Covid-19.

Left penniless and under huge debt, the brothers did not even have money to pay for their mother’s last rites till a social activist came to their rescue.

Gary said: “My grandfather was the first to contract the virus, followed by my grandmother. Both died within days. Later, my maternal uncle tested positive. My aunt and my mother sold their jewellery to pay Rs 10 lakh treatment cost, but failed to save him.”

The worst was yet to come, said Gary. “My mother’s sickness was totally unexpected. I had to sell my scooter to pay part of her hospital bill,” he said.

Gary’s mother Manvinder Kaur ran a boutique. She was the sole bread winner of the family. His father can’t work due to his ill-health. “I still owe a lot of money to the hospital,” Gary said.

Dr SPS Grover of Gulaab Devi Hospital said: “Manvinder Kaur was seriously ill. Her medical bill was Rs 3.10 lakh, but we made an exception and reduced it.” Jalandhar DC Ghanshyam Thori promised Rs 50,000 aid to family.

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