As VIPs move in, families wait for promised help

Twenty-four hours after the blasts, as residents of Hyderabad held candlelight vigils and observed a minute's silence in the memory of the dead, the victims' families were busy completing formalities to get the bodies released after post mortem or were occupied with funeral preparations. Still others were trying to figure out how to arrange the money that private hospitals were demanding for surgeries to save the lives of their loved ones.

Soon after the blasts, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had announced that his government would take care of all the medical expenses of the victims, be it at private or government hospitals. However, relatives accused several private hospitals of demanding money to continue treatment.

The families of victims also had to give at least Rs 600 for an ambulance for the bodies to be released to be taken to Osmania General Hospital for autopsy.

As VIPs did the rounds of hospitals and blast sites, no official in the CMO or health department was available to comment on the government's help for the victims. Care Hospital, Nampally, reported a scuffle as relatives accused hospital staff and police of being more bothered about the VIPs than the victims.

"While completing the formalities to get the body of my friend S Anand, I asked the hospital staff if I have to pay for the ambulance. They said they had no idea. They added that if we did not want to go through the formalities of approaching the government officers, it was better to make our own transport arrangements, which we did,'' said K Shirkant.

Many people objected to the media entering hospitals and trying to speak with the victims.

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