Tiruchi crematorium fleecing families of COVID-19 victims?

An ambulances transporting bodies of COVID-19 victims to Oyamari crematorium in Tiruchi.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Exorbitant collection of money for cremating COVID-19 victims at Oyamari crematorium has caused annoyance among their family members.

There are four gasifier crematoriums situated at Oyamari, Karumandapam, Konakarai and Ambedhkar Nagar in Srirangam, all owned by Tiruchi City Corporation.

Of them, the Oyamari crematorium on the banks of the Cauvery receives the maximum number of bodies for cremation.

According to sources, the number of bodies being brought for cremation has almost doubled over the last few weeks. On an average, until April, six or seven bodies were cremated at the crematorium. It has gone up to 12 to 15 a day. With the arrival of about two bodies every one hour, the crematorium faces immense pressure. Ambulances carrying the bodies are forced to wait to hand over the remains to relatives for the last rites.

The corporation, which handed over the crematorium at Oyamari to a non-government organisation in December last for operation and maintenance, has fixed ₹.1,500 for a body.

But the distressed relatives of COVID-19 allege that they are forced to pay exorbitant charges, ranging from ₹1,000 to ₹1,500 in addition to the stipulated fee.

It is alleged that the operators invariably collect the additional fee before loading the body into the furnace. In some cases, depending upon the situation, the workers collect more than ₹3,000 per body.

“It is unfortunate that a few workers make use of the opportunity to collect money. It adds to the sufferings of relatives, who lost their near and dears to the deadly virus,” says K. Janardhanan, a retired forest official residing at Bheema Nagar.

Denying the allegation, a representative of the NGO says no one is asked to pay more than the stipulated fee. The fee collection is transparent, and there are plans to create more facilities at the crematorium.

When contacted Corporation Commissioner S. Sivasubramanian told The Hindu that he would look into the complaints and ensure adherence to the stipulated fee.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 1:19:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/tiruchi-crematorium-fleecing-families-of-covid-19-victims/article34582026.ece

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