Mourning families struggle to find space to let loved ones rest in peace

Mourning families struggle to find space to let loved ones rest in peace

New Delhi: With the two cremation grounds designated as Covid-19 facilities having limited number of CNG furnaces, cremation process in the capital has been hit hard. A long list of protocols and an increased number of bodies are resulting in huge delays of late. Sometimes, the grieving families have to wait even more than 24 hours for the cremation.

Lack of infrastructure and staff has put increased pressure on the management of the two cremation facilities. Meanwhile, two of the four furnaces in Punjabi Bagh are lying defunct. Three CNG furnaces in Nigambodh Ghat have also not been functioning for a long time.

A senior South Delhi Municipal Corporation official told TOI that the Punjabi Bagh facility had received more than 36 corpses of Covid-19 patients (positive and suspected cases) in the last three days. “We have only two furnaces there. Sometimes, we receive more than 15 bodies at a time and hence, they start piling up. Each body takes more than 2 hours for the complete cremation in a CNG furnace,” the official explained.

A similar problem exists at Nigambodh Ghat. As per the data from North Delhi Municipal Corporation, it received 10 bodies of corona patients for funeral on Monday, 16 on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday and 13 on Thursday.

Suman Gupta who heads the NGO that manages the operations of the ghat said that only three out of six furnaces were operational. “We were about to get two more furnaces installed, but before the work could begin, the pandemic started. Now, even labourers are not available,” he said.

“With the number of such cremations rising and people having to wait the entire day, more cremation grounds should be designated as Covid facilities to ease the pressure,” Gupta added.

“Yesterday, we received 19 bodies and we already have a list of over 15 bodies to be cremated today. In the last three days, 44 bodies have been processed,” Gupta said on Saturday.

A senior corporation official said there was a plan to create another CNG facility at Dwarka, but that did not materialise. “We should definitely have more electric and CNG units. We may have to resort to wood-based cremations if the load increases beyond capacity,” the official added.

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