New Delhi: As the daily caseload of coronavirus surges again, spaces in crematoriums and funeral homes are filling up. The substantial rise in the fatality rate has led to receding spaces in the crematoriums. Limited staff and resources have slowed down the cremation process of Covid infected bodies. Delhi’s largest crematoriums for Covid related funeral, Nigambodh Ghat, is handling the cremation of dead bodies from six hospitals. As per civic officials, as Nigambodh Ghat shares the maximum load of dead bodies in the city, the number of platforms for cremation through wooden pyre from 104 to 120 has been increased. In South Delhi, there are eight facilities dedicated to Covid-19 related funerals. However, the situation is getting worrisome there too.
Jitender Singh Shunty, who runs a non-profit medical service, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, has been helping families in cremating Covid infected bodies since the beginning of the pandemic. He said that the recklessness and irresponsibility of the Delhi government have worsened the situation. He also said the number of deaths is not being reported properly.
Jitender Singh Shunty told The Sunday Guardian: “I am right now in a crematorium and five more bodies are coming here for funeral. Today, I have cremated 100 bodies and 44 bodies are still there in the mortuary of the hospital. This is nothing like the previous wave. People are now so helpless that they bringing the dead bodies in their own vehicles. This time, more children and infants are dying. This week, I cremated a just-born baby along with its mother, three-day child, and five-year-old children. All of this is extremely disturbing. The government is only reporting the deaths at hospitals and there is no record of those who are dying at their homes. If this goes on, then soon people will be dying on the streets.”
On Friday, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) announced that it has increased its daily cremation capacity from 289 to 365 to cope up with the increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths. As many as 1,541 people have died due to Covid-19 in the last week, according to Delhi’s health bulletin data.
On Thursday, Delhi recorded 306 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours Thursday, the highest since the pandemic began a year ago. The national capital is witnessing a worsening Covid situation amid an acute shortage of critical facilities.
As per the workers of these crematoriums, there is a risk of spreading the coronavirus when people are standing in queues to cremate the remains.
On Wednesday, civic authorities in the national capital started working on a real-time monitoring system and central control room for crematoriums and burial grounds as the number of deaths due to Covid is increasing.
North Delhi mayor Jai Prakash said: “All small and big crematoriums and cemeteries in the jurisdiction of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation will be connected to this integrated system. People will be able to know whether space is available for performing the last rites at these places.” Thirty additional platforms for the cremation of Covid victims at the Rohini Sector-16 cremation ground and 50 at the Paschim Vihar cremation ground will be developed in the next two days, he added.