Who could have thought that even the cremation grounds and graveyards would be under pressure and the staff overburdened? People are bidding adieu to their loved ones in the most compromised situation.
India reported over 2 lakh new COVID-19 cases and more than 1,000 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry on Thursday.
In the last 24 hours, as many as 1,038 COVID-related deaths were reported in the country driving the death toll to 1,73,123. Furthermore, 2,00,739 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in India in the last 24 hours. With this, the total number of cases has gone up to 1,40,74,564.
With the surge in Covid tally, the cremation grounds and graveyards in the country are overburdened having received more bodies than usual during the last few days.
Overburdened cremation grounds in Lucknow
The rising Covid-19 deaths have put immense pressure on cremation grounds and crematoriums. While 23 Covid-19 deaths were recorded in the city, several took place in adjoining districts. As a result, more than 60 bodies came for cremation at Biakunth Dam and Gulala Ghat.
The cumulative official record of Covid death count released by the government in the last seven days is 124. However, as per the records of the city’s crematoriums, over 400 people who died because of the virus had been cremated during the same period. This means the deaths of 276 people were missing from the official records, according to a media report.
Lucknow’s Bhaisakund cremation ground is trending on Twitter since morning today, 10 bodies were cremated in the traditional way and 17 electric crematoria by 7 pm. The rest were in the queue. At Gulala ghat, 11 were cremated in the electric crematorium and four through the traditional way. Family members of 10 were waiting. Munna, caretaker of an electric crematorium at Bhaisa Kund, said the cremation work continued even till the night, according to the TOI report.
According to Gaurav, whose distant relative recently died of Covid says, “The cremation grounds are full, people are getting tokens and are waiting for 3–4 hours for their turn. The situation is really bad.”
Crematoriums in Gujarat under pressure
Gujarat reported a record of 73 deaths and 7,410 cases in 24 hours, on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 4,995 while the number of active cases stood at 39,250.
According to a media report, a crematorium in Surat, which till two weeks ago cremated 10 to 15 dead bodies on an average in 24 hours, is now cremating 100 to 110 dead bodies. Due to all-day use, the cremation furnaces have melted, said the trustee of this crematorium.
Similarly in Ahmedabad’s Vadaj area, the chimney of an electric furnace collapsed due to overheating caused by excessive use. A 24-year-old had to wait for seven hours to get his father cremated on Tuesday night, a media report says
“Last year, when the infection started, we increased three more gas cremation furnaces to meet the demand. Today, we have six furnaces and eight wooden pyres but they don’t seem enough as we are cremating between 100 and 110 dead bodies every day,” said Kamlesh Sailor, main trustee of Kurukshetra Crematorium in Surat, a media report says.
Cremation sites in Delhi under pressure
Delhi recorded the biggest single-day jump in its coronavirus tally on Wednesday with 17,282 new cases, while over 100 people died.
The rising number of virus-related deaths has put immense pressure on resources in graveyards and crematoriums in Delhi as well. Their ‘overworked’ staff are struggling to keep pace with the influx of bodies.
At Qabristan Ahle Islam, on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, one of Delhi’s largest burial grounds excavators have been put into service to dig graves.
The Qabristan has been receiving over two dozen to three dozen bodies every day which is beyond its ‘handling capacity.’ Hence, the management committee had to press excavators into service.
Haji Qayamuddin, a member of the committee, said that considering the pressure, 10–12 graves are kept ready so that people don’t face inconvenience according to a media report.
“The staff were exhausted and unable to dig graves faster. We have to wait for more than two hours to complete burial,” said Swadaqeen Qureshi, a resident of Quresh Nagar, who came to attend the funeral of his sister. In a video message released before Ramzaan, Shahi Imam Syed Ahmad Bukhari also mentioned the ‘overburdened’ staff at graveyards and appealed to people to follow Covid protocol seriously, the report further said.
“Over 100 cremations of people who had died of Covid were undertaken in the last five days. On Tuesday, 33 were cremated. A coronavirus block containing 22 platforms has been barricaded for cremation. If required, more arrangements will be made,” said Suman Gupta, general secretary of the Badi Panchayat Vayshya Besey Agarwal organisation, which manages the crematorium at Nigambodh Ghat, has reserved 22 platforms for Covid victims’ last rites.
Cremation machines develop technical snag due to ‘overburden’ in Ranchi
Over a dozen Covid-19 bodies were queued for cremation at Muktidham in Ranchi’s Harmu area after two gas-based cremation machines developed technical snag due to “overburden” on Sunday, officials said.
Acting fast, the district administration directed Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) that manages the crematorium to rectify the snag at the earliest. RMC chief executive officer Mukesh Kumar said, “Our technical team is working on its rectification. The machines, that were earlier running uninterrupted, developed snag due to pressure.”
The crematorium was being used to dispose of infected bodies while following the Covid-19 protocol. According to officials, the crematorium was overburdened due to increasing Covid casualties.
RMC was also arranging an alternative to dispose of the bodies through a conventional method. “A team has been deputed to clean and make arrangements of lightning at alternative cremation ground to clear the pendency. Since pressure is rising, we cannot rely on the machines only,” he said.
Non-functional electric furnaces in crematoriums in Patna amid rising covid deaths
The second wave of COVID -19 has not only imperilled the health infrastructure in Bihar. In times when covid cases are surging at an unprecedented rate in almost every state the fact that nearly half of the electric furnaces in crematoriums in Patna, the state’s capital, are non-functional is alarming. It is causing trouble to the family and relatives of those who have died due to COVID-19 to wait for eight to ten hours for their turn to cremate their dear ones.
The grave situation at the cremation ground can be understood by the fact that the woods for the funeral rites are being sold at high prices by nearby sellers for the final rites of the bodies.
At the Gulabi Ghat crematorium, only one of the two electric furnaces is functional. While at the Khajekala crematorium all-electric furnaces are non-operational and are closed for the last two months, said an official of the Patna Nagar Nigam, according to a media report.