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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Final rites on pavement outside crematorium, Ghaziabad administration says part of facility

Four contract workers sat near the platforms after constructing the five new platforms, which they said were made out of cement and bricks. They said that while work was done for now, they might have to construct more if the need arises.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
Updated: April 19, 2021 9:56:32 pm
The pavement leading to the crematorium is lined with 14 platforms set aside for bodies of Covid patients, while the space inside is for non-Covid deaths.

On Monday afternoon, bodies of Covid patients were being cremated on platforms on the pavement outside Ghaziabad’s Hindon crematorium, with workers saying the new platforms had been constructed outside to ensure that Covid and non-Covid bodies are cremated separately.

The pavement leading to the crematorium is lined with 14 platforms set aside for bodies of Covid patients, while the space inside is for non-Covid deaths. Crematorium workers said bodies of five Covid patients had been brought in since morning on Monday. The waiting time for electric cremations was around three hours and that for wood-based cremations was one hour. Only the latter is being conducted outside.

Four contract workers sat near the platforms after constructing the five new platforms, which they said were made out of cement and bricks. They said that while work was done for now, they might have to construct more if the need arises.

Wooden logs were collected from opposite the road and placed on platforms every time a new body was brought in.

Gaurav Chaudhury had accompanied his neighbour, whose 14-year-old daughter had died. He said, “I have been in Ghaziabad for 20 years but never have I seen such a sight… there’s no place inside the crematorium so we are forced to cremate bodies outside.”

An official at the crematorium, who did not wish to be named, said: “The crematorium has a capacity of 41 pyres. When Covid cases started increasing last year, we had constructed a few new platforms. As of now, there are 14 platforms for Covid bodies outside. We started constructing five new platforms yesterday, as the number of deaths has been increasing lately.”

He added that they have been cremating around seven bodies a day in the section set aside for Covid patients.

Officially, Ghaziabad reported two Covid deaths on April 19. So far in April, the district has reported six Covid deaths, according to government data, while 108 have been recorded since March 1 last year when the pandemic started.

The District Magistrate did not comment on the set-up at the crematorium, saying the Municipal Commissioner should be contacted.

Municipal Commissioner Mahendra Singh Tanwar said the road on which the platforms were built is a “part of the crematorium ground”. He said that some structures were built last year when Covid cases were on the rise, and that the construction taking place on Monday was to “renovate” square structures into rectangular ones so “religious sentiments are not hurt”.

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