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After 47 days, Delhi’s crematoriums, burial grounds see less than 100 bodies

Delhi Covid-19 deaths: The last time less than 100 bodies were cremated or buried as per Covid protocol was on April 12, when 77 bodies were received. The next day saw 170 bodies.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: May 31, 2021 12:19:50 pm
Covid-19By the last week of April, when cases and deaths spiked at the height of the second wave, crematoriums were under pressure as they carried out more than 700 last rites (as per Covid protocol) a day. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

After 47 days, less than 100 bodies were cremated or buried as per Covid protocol on Saturday. According to data from the East, North and South MCDs, which manage crematoriums and graveyards in the city, last rites of 82 people – 79 cremations and three burials – were conducted.

The last time less than 100 bodies were cremated or buried as per Covid protocol was on April 12, when 77 bodies were received. The next day saw 170 bodies.

By the last week of April, when cases and deaths spiked at the height of the second wave, crematoriums were under pressure as they carried out more than 700 last rites (as per Covid protocol) a day. This eased slightly in the second week of May, with the number of such cremations dropping below 450. Since then, there has been a constant drop.

On Saturday, Nigambodh Ghat, the city’s busiest cremation ground which had seen 100 bodies during the peak, saw 10 bodies. The Ghazipur cremation facility, which had to add 20 pyres in its parking lot in April as it ran out of space, saw six Covid bodies.

However, the gap between Covid deaths as per the Delhi government’s health bulletin and cremations conducted as per Covid protocol remains.

According to MCD data, cremation grounds saw 106 ‘Covid cremations’ on May 26; 108 on May 27; 101 on May 28; and 82 on May 29. The number of deaths in the last four days, as per the Delhi government bulletin, has been 122, 139, 117 and 130.

A senior Delhi government official said: “There have been small differences in figures, but the government has never indulged in hiding any data. There have been many instances where bodies of Covid patients from NCR towns have been cremated or buried in Delhi because of lack of space. The reverse is also true. In case there are delays by hospitals in updating numbers, those are also duly added to the tally. We have been transparent, and will continue being so.”

North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash, however, claimed the Delhi government “had been suppressing figures since the outbreak and is now clearing them in order to hide their incompetence and collapse of health infrastructure of their hospitals”.

Meanwhile, Leader of House in South MCD, Narendra Chawla, said with just around 10% of the Covid designated space being used at crematoriums, these spaces would be opened to non-Covid cases. “However, there are enough for even non-Covid cremations at present,” he added.

There are over 1,184 spaces reserved in 28 sites of MCDs for last rites as per Covid protocol.

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