Mourned relatives perform the final rites of a man
NEW DELHI: The official daily count of Covid-protocol funerals in the city crossed the 500 mark for the first time on Friday. A municipal official overseeing the Covid funeral management said 539 such funerals had been carried out till 6pm while many more were yet to be conducted.
The big facilities like Nigambodh Ghat, Green Park and Punjabi Bagh now operate till midnight, said the official. According to the municipal corporations’ Covid funeral report, 223 bodies were received at 10 cremation and burial grounds under North Delhi Municipal Corporation, 272 at nine centres under South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and 44 at six facilities under East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
The city breached the daily 400 mark on Tuesday when 410 Covid funerals took place. The count rose to 451 on Wednesday and 483 on Thursday. “In the wake of the continued rise in deaths, two sites have been added to the Covid-protocol funeral centres in Paschim Vihar and Haiderpur,” the official added. Many Delhiites have been complaining about multiple cremation grounds getting overwhelmed, wood shortage and long waiting periods.
Multiple facilities are now running beyond the capacity. On Friday, the Panchkuian Road facility cremated 29 Covid bodies as against the capacity of 15, Beri Wala Bagh crematorium 18 bodies as against 12; and Paschim Vihar 19 bodies as against 18. SDMC’s Dwarka Sector 24 Dwaraka facility received 40 bodies while it can cremate only 32.
The burial grounds have also been under stress with the Mangolpuri facility getting 12 bodies and ITO Firozshah Kotla getting eight bodies on Friday. The ITO burial ground is fast running out of space, a burial manager said.
Alarmingly, senior public health officials say, the non-Covid cremations have also been rising rapidly in key facilities. On Thursday, the Covid protocol funeral at Nigambodh crossed 108 while non-Covid ones also continued to rise. In early April, the city’s biggest crematorium used to carry out 30-40 non-Covid funerals, but the count stands at over 90 since April 18-19. “We suspect that many of them may be dying of Covid at home and have asked the staff to deal with precautions,” north corporation mayor Jai Prakash said.