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Unused crematoriums revived in Ghaziabad as space runs out

A view of the cremation ground in the Shalimar Garden area which is getting revamped.  

Unable to cremate all COVID-19 bodies due to ‘never ending’ queues at the Hindon crematorium, the Ghaziabad administration has decided to reuse the defunct crematoriums in the city.

Recently, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) has revived cremation grounds in Shalimar Garden, Indirapuram, Raj Nagar Extension and Karhera.

Last week, a priest at the Hindon crematorium had put ‘houseful’ board at the entry gate after there was no space left for cremation of bodies.

Watch | What is happening in India's crematoriums?

More platforms

“We were getting complaints regarding waiting hours at the Hindon crematorium. Though we had constructed more platforms but still there was a long waiting time. Initially, we revived a crematorium in Indirapuram that was not in use as people preferred Hindon. But that too was also running out of space, so we have revived the one in Sahibabad area,” said an official with the GMC.

Aditya Gaur, a priest at the Sahibabad crematorium, said in Ghaziabad people had preferred cremation at Hindon banks as it is a tributary of the Ganga. Therefore the other cremation grounds in the city were abandoned. “During the second wave, Ghaziabad witnessed around 50 deaths per day that put the existing system out of order,” said Mr. Gaur.

At present, the GMC has provided 34 platforms at the Indirapuram cremation ground for COVID and non-COVID bodies. If required more platforms will be constructed.

“Before the ashes cool down, another body takes over the space. Back-to-back cremations have caused a shortage of wood,” said Triloki Nath, a priest at the Indirapuram cremation ground.

Another crematorium in Noor Nagar area of Raj Nagar has been made operational.

“Earlier there was only one crematorium for COVID bodies. Several platforms have been reserved for COVID bodies. We have deployed staff members at each crematorium to take care of facilities like wood, sanitation, parking and waiting area,” said a senior GMC official.

Vimal Singh, who had come to cremate his cousin at the Shalimar Garden crematorium, said those who are unaware of the new crematoriums are still going to Hindon. By reviving these crematoriums, the GMC has decongested Hindon and it will help people to maintain social distancing at cremation grounds too. “The Ghaziabad administration has woken up late to the crisis. There should be more electric crematoriums for COVID bodies,” said Mr. Singh.

Santosh Kumar, who had come to cremate his nephew, said now at least they will get ashes of their loved ones. “I went to the Hindon crematorium 10 days ago for the creation of a man who died of natural causes. I was shocked to see the chaos. We were not even allowed to wait till the body got cremated. We left the crematorium without collecting the ashes,” he said.

Sushil Kumar, a farmer from Karhera area of Sahibabad, was disturbed after seeing the videos and photos of queues at the crematoriums. He has offered his 1,500 gaj land worth of several crores for a crematorium. “I have written a letter to the GMC and offered land for cremation of COVID-19 bodies. A team visited the plot and they have started constructing 10 platforms,” he said.

A GMC official said after verifying the documents and getting other formalities done, they have started constructing platforms and have arranged wood and other facilities at the location for the visitors.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 2:29:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/unused-crematoriums-revived-in-ghaziabad-as-space-runs-out/article34517507.ece

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