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With COVID bodies piling up, Corpn asks city crematoria, burial grounds to operate 24x7
With the number of bodies at burial grounds and crematoria increasing during the second wave, the Greater Chennai Corporation has decided to run the facilities during night hours too.
According to Corporation sources, newly appointed Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi issued oral instructions in this regard to the Health Department as well. “The instruction came after several bodies were piling up at burial grounds and crematoria due to increase in COVID deaths. Hence we have to run them round the clock,” a source said.
Owing to the lack of time slots to cremate bodies, especially COVID victims, relatives are made to make several trips to the crematoria. “The Corporation should introduce a system like a control room or online portal so that the process is eased for deceased’s kin. It would be easy on the already grieving families, “ G Arun, a city resident, who had lost a friend, said. The source added that caretakers and workers at the facilities are already working for more than 16 hours and they leave only after completing burial and cremation of all the bodies. “If the head office decides to make the burial grounds operate 24x7, we need more workers to work on a shift basis,” the source added.
The number of bodies at the crematoria witnessed a manifold rise since the city’s official COVID death toll is nearing 100 per day. There are 110 crematoria in the city and the number of bodies going to the facilities has already crossed 700, which is five to six times higher than pre-COVID times. Earlier, big crematoria located in densely populated areas would receive three to five bodies on average. “Now, they are receiving more than 15 bodies daily. Around 80% bodies are cremated following protocols, “ the source said. The civic body has directed caretakers of the crematoria to keep burial grounds and gasifiers open after closing hours if they receive bodies late in the evenings.