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BBMP, PHANA blame each other for rush at crematoria, graveyards

Civic body claims bodies released late, PHANA claims bodies are not picked up on time

April 23, 2021 07:52 am | Updated 07:52 am IST

A gravedigger is at work while volunteers of Mercy Angels and Archdiocese of Bangalore, wearing PPE kit, help a family bury a COVID-19 victim at Indian Christian Cemetery off Hosur Road, in Bengaluru.

A gravedigger is at work while volunteers of Mercy Angels and Archdiocese of Bangalore, wearing PPE kit, help a family bury a COVID-19 victim at Indian Christian Cemetery off Hosur Road, in Bengaluru.

Ambulances lining up at various electric crematoria in the city have become a common sight as people wait to cremate their loved ones. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which manages all the graveyards and crematoria in the city, blamed private hospitals for the rush.

Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta claimed that many hospitals were releasing bodies for cremation or burial post-noon. “By the time ambulances and hearses reach the various graveyards and crematoria, it is 1 p.m. and there is a pile-up,” he said, and added that crematoria in the city have been directed to function from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. He claimed to have inspected several facilities and found that from 8 a.m. to post-noon, there was hardly any rush.

“We have discussed this with private hospitals. We have requested them to release bodies earlier in the day to minimise rush at the various facilities,” he said.

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA), however, accused the civic body of delay in picking up bodies. PHANA president Prasanna H.M. told The Hindu that a majority of deaths happen during the early hours, between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. As per the protocol, private medical establishments declare the deaths, inform relatives and the BBMP. “Even when we inform the BBMP at 8 a.m., the bodies are picked up post-noon. We often hear that ambulances or hearses are unavailable,” he said.

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