After several complaints about the long wait for cremation of bodies of Covid-19 patients at electric or gas furnace crematoriums in the city, which has among the highest caseloads in the country right now, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to allow the bodies to be cremated on a pyre.
As per the norms, the body of a Covid-19 patient has to be cremated in designated civic crematoriums. “This has increased the load on the designated crematoriums…,” said a civic officer.
“Cremation in an electric or gas-run furnace takes one hour and preparing the body for cremation takes more time. Families of the deceased have to wait for a long time at the crematoriums, due to the increasing number of deaths… so the PMC has provided an option to them to cremate the body on a pyre. Till now, it was done in an electric or gas-operated furnace,” said Srinivas Kandul, chief engineer of PMC, who is coordinating the cremation process during the pandemic.
Kandul said those who don’t want to wait for the cremation of their deceased kin in an electric or gas furnace can opt for a pyre at the designated crematoriums.
The crematoriums have seen an increased rush due the increasing number of deaths of patients from PMC limits, as well as those from outside, who came to the city for treatment. Currently, an estimated 30 percent of patients in city hospitals are from outside Pune district.
Recently, the PMC increased the number of designated crematoriums for cremation of patients dying of Covid-19. “We have increased the designated cremation facilities from two to 11… to reduce the waiting time for disposal of bodies due to unavailability of cremation facility,” said Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar.
Two cremating furnaces, at Kailas and Yerawada crematoriums, have been operating round the clock, while the remaining crematoriums are operational from 8 am to 12 midnight. The PMC has also made provision for cold storage cabins at each of the 11 crematoriums so that the bodies in waiting are kept in the cabin till the last rites are done, while the ambulance deployed for transporting the bodies can attend the next call to transport another body.
Recently, the family member of a deceased Covid-19 patient was asked to wait for hours to cremate the body at Yerawada crematorium. “The hospital insists on collecting the body of the deceased but it cannot be taken to the crematorium due to the long waiting hours. So, we sought permission to cremate the body at a newly-designated crematorium, where there was no wait….,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PMC has asked relatives of Covid-19 patients, who die at home, to handle the body on their own and put it in a body bag, and transport it in a civic-deployed ambulance to the designated crematorium.
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