More platforms earmarked for cremation of COVID-19 victims in Delhi: Civic bodies

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI) From earmarking more platforms at crematoria to designating spaces in graveyards, civic bodies in Delhi have swung into action to ensure timely funeral services for COVID-19 victims in view of escalating coronavirus cases. According to North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash, about 21 crematoria and burial grounds across the national capital have been marked for performing last rites of people who have died after being infected by the virus.

'Delhi is currently seeing a major upsurge in COVID cases, which is more dangerous than the previous wave. In view of the rising cases and deaths due to COVID, we have earmarked more platforms at crematoria to handle the rush. If deaths increase on a daily basis, we will earmark more platforms,' he said on Thursday.

At the Nigambodh Ghat in north Delhi, there are six CNG-based furnaces, out of which three are reserved for cremating COVID victims, Prakash said.

'Nigambodh Ghat, where most people prefer to bring the bodies for funerals, has 120 platforms now, and 10 out of those are wood-based. Our crematoria across north Delhi can handle about 100-200 bodies a day. If the spike continues, and death toll rises, we will further augment the facility according to the need,' Prakash said.

Officials at South Delhi Municipal Corporation too said all arrangements have been made to ensure timely and proper funeral of victims who have died due to COVID-19 amid a spike in daily cases and fatalities.

The Muslim graveyard at ITO area, also falls under the jurisdiction of the SDMC. Delhi on Wednesday recorded 5,506 fresh COVID-19 cases, the sharpest daily spike this year, that pushed the infection tally to 6,90,568 while 20 more people succumbed to the disease, taking the death toll to 11,133.

It was the second consecutive day when Delhi saw a rise of over 5,000 cases in a day as the city had reported 5,100 fresh cases on Tuesday.

The positivity rate jumped to 6.1 per cent on Wednesday from 4.93 per cent the day before.

The number of fatalities in the first two months had come down to mostly a single-digit, but late March, the fatality count also increased, at times, more than 20 in a day. East Delhi Mayor Nirmal Jain, who received his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, urged people to follow all norms, like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. 'We have 35 earmarked platforms, out of the 96 in total at various crematoria across east Delhi. Ten are reserved at Karkardooma crematorium, 10 at Seemapuri, and 15 at Ghazipur site. We can increase as and when the situation demands,' he said.

Burial facility is there at Mulla Colony and Buland Masjid, he added.

'We are working in coordination with other civic bodies to ensure proper and timely funeral services with all COVID safety norms,' the East Delhi mayor said.

He added that 41,434 beneficiaries have been vaccinated across 19 centres located in areas under the EDMC. PTI KND RHL