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PMC to use white coal for cremating Covid bodies after complaints of rising air pollution levels

The PMC had earlier designated only two crematoriums, Kailas and Yerawada, for disposing of Covid bodies. It added 11 others during the previous peak in September last year.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
April 21, 2021 9:38:24 pm
Workers keeping the dead bodies in Coffin refrigerators at Yerwada crematorium on Monday as the number of COVID-19 dead bodies are very high. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

The PMC has decided to use white coal at crematoriums, where bodies of Covid-19 patients are being cremated, towards an effort to reduce air pollution levels after residents in the vicinity complained of heavy smoke in the area. The civic body has allowed cremation of such bodies at any crematorium in the city, which has reported over 75 deaths daily due to Covid-19 in the last week.

The PMC had earlier designated only two crematoriums, Kailas and Yerawada, for disposing of Covid bodies. It added 11 others during the previous peak in September last year.

“The disposal of the bodies of Covid patients was allowed in 11 crematoriums. Also, the cremation was only through an electric or gas furnace, but later through pyre. However, the number of deaths reduced leading the administration to restrict the cremation at two designated crematoriums,” said Kalpana Baliwant, assistant medical officer.

Baliwant said the PMC was since conducting cremations of Covid bodies at the two designated crematoriums, adding, “The rising number of deaths has once again put a load on crematoriums, so cremations are now allowed at any crematorium in the city.”

Chief Engineer Srinivas Kandul said since this decision, many people living in the area of these creamtoriums have complained of air pollution. “The PMC has decided to use white coal for cremation of Covid bodies. This helps generate more heat, while the cremation takes place faster and pollution levels are lower as compared to cremations done with the help of wood,” he said.

Kandul said the city had reported over 75 Covid deaths daily, including city residents as well as those who had come to the city for treatment.

Senior BJP leader Sandeep Khardekar, who has been involved in improving cremation services in the city’s largest crematorium at Vaikunth in Navi Peth, said a large number of Covid bodies were coming to the crematorium. “Around 40 to 45 Covid bodies come directly to Vaikunth from hospitals. The crematorium is the largest and in the heart of the city, so it is preferred,” he said.

Khardekar said the cremation of Covid bodies at Vaikunth was done on a pyre. “It takes time to set up the entire pyre due to limitations in handling the body. However, we are trying to streamline the entire process by appointing volunteers to make necessary arrangements,” he added.

The Vaikunth crematorium also received a large number of non-Covid bodies, he added.

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