Crematoriums and burial grounds in national capital Delhi are overwhelmed due to sharp rise in Covid-19 deaths. The Nigambodh Ghat, Delhi's biggest crematorium ground, has seen a spike in cremation since April 11.
The ghat observed the last rites of 13 COVID-19 victims on April 10. But on April 11, it rose to 24; 22 on April 12, and 33 on April 13.
Suman Gupta, the general secretary of Badi Panchayat Vaishya Beese Agarwal organisation that manages Nigambodh Ghat said the number of cremations had risen sharply in the past few days. He said, "Usually, around 50-60 cremations are performed here daily. The number has gone up to over 80 now".
He further said: "The cremations of over 100 COVID-19 victims were performed in the last five days. On Tuesday, 33 bodies were cremated".
At the Nigambodh Ghat, currently, 22 platforms and six CNG-run furnaces are being used exclusively for cremating COVID-19 victims. Around 70 staff members of the cremation ground are working hard to cope with the rush of bodies.
Mashqoor Rashid, a member of the management committee of the graveyard at ITO, said the bodies of COVID-19 patients were being sent there from across the city as local cemeteries were overwhelmed.
However, Amantullah Khan, the chairman of Delhi Waqf Board which runs several graveyards in the city, said there was no scarcity of land for burials so far. "We have enough land for burials."
According to North Delhi Municipal Corporation(NDMC) figures, a total of 219 confirmed and nine suspected deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported at cremation grounds and burial places under its jurisdiction in April so far.
North Delhi mayor Jai Prakash said he has written a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking his help for arranging land for burials.
The burial of COVID-19 victims requires especially dug-up graves, which are being prepared through backhoe loaders as the digging manually would take more time and manpower, said a municipal corporation official, supervising the burials.
"As compared to normal graves of 4-5 feet deep, the COVID-19 victims require to be buried 12-14 feet deep. Such graves can also not be reused due to the highly infectious nature of the virus," he said.
According to an official figure on confirmed and suspected cases, the virus has killed 409 people in Delhi in the first 13 days of April, while it had claimed 117 lives in the entire month of March and 57 in February.
This substantial rise in the fatality rate has led to a rush at the city's crematoriums and burial grounds.
The last rites of 38 COVID-19 victims have been conducted at the Mongolpuri cremation ground in April so far; 26 at Beriwala Bagh; and 20 at the Panchkuian Road.
A total of 77 last rites, including 63 confirmed and 14 suspected cases of COVID victims, were performed at five cremation and burial grounds under East Delhi Municipal Corporation until April 12, municipal officials said.
Yesterday, Delhi recorded the biggest single-day jump in its COVID-19 tally with 17,282 new cases, and over 100 deaths. In Delhi, 11,540 people have succumbed to coronavirus as of April 14, 2021.
Amid a massive surge in cases, the Delhi government has issued an order to ramp up the number of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients at its hospitals and attach banquet halls and hotels to these facilities. The move will add around 3,269 beds in COVID health facilities in the national capital.
(With PTI inputs)Also read: Rajasthan to impose 12-hour night curfew from Friday amid COVID-19 surge