The Greater Chennai Corporation has provided uniforms to helpers at crematoria in the south region to shield the relatives of COVID-19 victims from anti-social elements.
There are 92 crematoria in zones 11-15. Of them, 13 are gasifier, LPG and electrical; the rest are conventional. Most of the COVID-19 victims are cremated at the gasifier, electrical or LPG crematoria.
“We received some complaints that anti-social elements or non-employees were loitering around and creating a nuisance [at the crematoria]. Hence, we decided to come up with a uniform for the staff members so that members of the public can easily identify them and not fall prey to conmen,” said Rajgopal Sunkara, Regional Deputy Commissioner, South.
As of now, 72 staff members have been given the blue jersey and shorts, with ‘crematorium helper’ emblazoned. “We have also given them gloves and masks. They will wear their identity cards. Earlier, cremation was allowed only till 6 p.m. Now people bring bodies till 10.30 p.m.; many women relatives are also coming. Hence, we wanted to help them identify our staff easily,” said R. Balasubramanian, SE.
Mr. Balasubramanian, along with R. Subash, executive engineer, zone 13, designed the uniform.
“We chose blue as we wanted the colour to stand out from the rest,” Mr. Subash said.
“We also have CCTVs being set up. We can monitor the movement of anti-social elements. Just another initiative to make the last journey a peaceful experience,” Mr. Sunkara said.