One more electric crematorium for COVID bodies in the offing

The decision has been taken in view of entry being denied to bodies at various cremation grounds.   | Photo Credit: M_SAMRAJ

The State government is exploring options for installation of one more electric crematorium within the city peripheries, in addition to the already existing six run by the GHMC.

The decision has been taken in view of entry being denied to bodies of COVID patients at various existing cremation grounds.

All COVID-19 dead bodies are now being taken to a single undisclosed location, due to which pressure is piling up on the facility.

Officials are scouting for locations suitable for installation of an electric crematorium with advanced technology within the GHMC area. Sources informed that a site in the city that comes under the Medchal-Malkajgiri district is being tentatively considered. Efforts are on to see that the crematorium is in place within a couple of months.

Though six electric crematoria have been installed in the city by GHMC, spending crores of public money, not one among them is ready for use for the civic body when it needed them the most.

GHMC had installed electric furnaces long ago at Amberpet and Bansilalpet cremation grounds, while modern electric crematoria were launched at S.R. Nagar and Punjagutta graveyards about a decade ago, say officials.

All the six are lying non-functional for a long time now, they informed, attributing it to high maintenance costs. A proposal three years ago, to privatise the maintenance of these facilities has not taken off due to reasons unknown. Wherever the electric crematoriums have come up, residents nearby have risen in protests complaining of smoke, stench and pollution.

At the same time, electric crematoriums set up by private trusts have been running very well, and are maintained in good shape. Mahaprasthanam at Jubilee Hills and Swarg Vatika at Trimulgherry are two such crematoriums that are offering decent funeral services in good ambience.

Absence of functional public crematoriums with electric furnaces has become an insurmountable issue, especially in view of the influx of dead bodies due to rampant COVID cases in city.

Though the death rate is said to be lower here compared to other cities, officials say about 20 to 30 bodies of either COVID-19 positive or suspected patients are arriving every day on an average from across the city. They include patients admitted in various public and private hospitals, and also those from home isolation.

The civic authorities are facing severe pressure in disposing of the bodies in the conventional way, as residents surrounding the cremation grounds are vociferously protesting against bringing the infected bodies.

A single location in the north-western part of the city, where they could convince people, is proving to be insufficient to burn bodies streaming in day and night.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 1:39:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/one-more-electric-crematorium-for-covid-bodies-in-the-offing/article31965506.ece

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