Punjab Police DSP Harjinder Singh (49) died of post-Covid complications at Satguru Partap Singh (SPS) Hospital in Ludhiana, Wednesday. A few days ago, the DSP — in a video made from his hospital bed which went viral on social media — had made a poignant appeal to the Punjab government to fund his lung transplant instead of giving compensation to his family after he would die. He had separated from his wife, and is survived by his mother and two sons. Posted as DSP at Ludhiana Central Jail, the officer tested positive on March 30 and was admitted to SPS Hospital on April 6. Even though he tested negative for the virus on April 21, his lungs were severely damaged. According to the family, doctors had advised lung transplant as the only possibility as his chances of survival were bleak. Hardeep Singh, the DSP’s cousin who stepped in as caretaker when the officer was in hospital, said his brother died because bureaucracy dragged its feet even after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh announced that the state government would bear all expenses of the officer’s treatment.
“Even after CM tweeted and announced that government would bear entire cost of my brother’s treatment, the case was still transferred to a government expert committee headed by Dr K K Talwar. It was on June 2 that CM had made the announcement on Twitter, by when it was already very late. On May 10, the doctors at SPS Hospital had already communicated to us that his lungs were completely finished and we should plan for lung transplant. We had immediately informed senior police officials including Ludhiana police commissioner but no action was taken. Then we contacted some NGOs and even our relatives agreed to extend some monetary help and we were ready to take him to KIMS Hospital, Secunderabad (Telangana), for lung transplant but then on June 2, after CM’s announcement, those NGOs also backed out,” said Hardeep. “Ludhiana police commissioner had written a letter to ADGP (jails) on May 20 that Rs 80 lakh would be required for lung transplant, but nothing was done to expedite the case,” said Hardeep. On May 10, the hospital authorities said that due to the coronavirus infection, Harjinder’s lungs had suffered irreparable damage and his life could be saved only through lung transplant.