Workers at crematoriums want a break

Workers at electric crematoria, who have been taking care of the dead without any break have threatened to stop working unless conditions improve. They submitted a petition to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday seeking his intervention.

“Staff have been working round-the-clock and are exhausted. Amidst this, people accuse them of corruption, which is making the situation worse,” said A. Suresh, State general secretary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Dalitha Sangharsha Samithi who submitted the petition.

Workers have demand two shifts. Mr. Suresh cited the example of Sumanahalli electric crematorium, which he said received as many as 49 bodies since Wednesday. “It takes at least one hour to cremate a body followed by cleaning the premises for the next body. Workers are exhausted because of the heat, and at least two have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two days. The sad part is that one of them needed immediate hospitalisation, but could not get a bed in the city. He had to be taken to Kolar,” Mr. Suresh told The Hindu .

BBMP promises incentives, and shifts

The BBMP, on Thursday, issued an order to provide incentives for personnel in graveyards and electric crematoria. Workers will receive Rs. 500 as an incentive for each body they handle, irrespective of whether the deceased had COVID-19. This incentive will be applicable from April 1, for another two months.

The civic body has also fixed rates for chatta and ash collection totalling Rs. 1,000 per body. Though all services are free for citizens, the BBMP will pay the money towards crematoria maintenance.

To ease the burden on workers, the civic body plans to increase the number of personnel working in the graveyards and crematoria, and introduce shifts.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 5:22:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/workers-at-crematoriums-want-a-break/article34390379.ece

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