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Delhi: MCDs to offer wood-based cremation for Covid cases

A circular issued by the office of the municipal health officer, North MCD, said the competent authority had allowed inclusion of wood-based cremation in these grounds.

The South MCD spokesperson also said there was an increased rush at the Punjabi Bagh crematorium as well, and wood-based cremation was allowed to accommodate more people. (Representational Image)

With increasing pressure on CNG-based cremation facilities, the three civic bodies have started the option of wood-based cremation for Covid cases at its facilities. Only CNG cremation facilities were allowed to function till earlier this week, but it was leading to longer waiting time for families of those who had died and either tested positive for Covid or were suspected to have the virus.

A circular issued by the office of the municipal health officer, North MCD, said the competent authority had allowed inclusion of wood-based cremation in these grounds. It lists four sites — Nigambodh Ghat, P K Road cremation ground on Rani Jhansi Road, Karkardooma cremation ground and Punjabi Bagh cremation ground — where wood-based cremation will be allowed. Only Punjabi Bagh and Nigambodh Ghat have CNG furnaces as well.

At Nigambodh Ghat, a few bodies could not be cremated a few days ago. Officials said problems arose due to lack of adequate infrastructure and staff, along with the detailed protocol and social distancing norms to be followed to cremate Covid patients. The Director, Press and Information of the North body, said, “There were some issues on Wednesday but they have been addressed.”

The South MCD spokesperson also said there was an increased rush at the Punjabi Bagh crematorium as well, and wood-based cremation was allowed to accommodate more people.

Delhi had seen 316 Covid deaths till Thursday. At cremation and burial grounds, both Covid confirmed and suspected bodies are laid to rest as per the Covid protocol. Three CNG furnaces out of six at Nigambodh Ghat have not been functional for a while. There are four CNG furnaces at Punjabi Bagh which too have reported technical snags in the past.

East MCD spokesperson Arun Kumar said only wood-based cremations are possible at the Karkardooma ground: “It was earlier not on the list of Covid designated cremation grounds but had to be included later.”

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