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Crowding at Delhi’s cremation grounds: East MCD will run facility 24×7, North asks hospitals to stagger release of bodies


The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) will run the Karkardooma cremation ground for 24 hours from Monday onwards because of an increase in the number of Covid deaths, while the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has asked hospitals to send bodies in a staggered manner to reduce waiting time at the crematorium.

“We were getting reports about people having to wait the entire night to get bodies of Covid victims cremated, as the timings are 8 am to 9 pm. To make sure people do not have to wait, we will in all likelihood be running the crematorium 24×7,” said Dr Ajay Handa, additional medical health official from the EDMC.

The number of bodies arriving at the Karkardooma crematorium has increased since April 1. From January 1 till the end of March this year, nine bodies were cremated here as per Covid protocol, while this month the number has already touched 20.

At the Seemapuri burial ground under EDMC, 134 bodies were cremated as per Covid protocol since April 1, as compared to 35 from January 1 to March-end this year.

Overall, since April 1, the crematoriums at Karkardooma, Ghazipur, and the burial grounds of Seemapuri, Shastri Park and Mayur Vihar Phase 3 saw the last sites of 207 bodies as per Covid protocol, as compared to 67 from January 1-March 31. Last year, from April 1 to December 12, this number stood at 1,891.

Various hospitals under the East and North MCDs have been directed to send bodies only to specified crematoriums/burial grounds, as per a directive issued on Saturday by the NDMC.

A senior official from the civic body said, “We have created a system wherein the hospitals have been asked to send the bodies of Covid patients in a staggered manner to specified grounds. This is to reduce waiting time.”

The number of bodies received at North MCD’s grounds have also increased in comparison to the same period last year — April 1 to April 15. Last year, there were 12 bodies whose last rites were performed as per Covid protocol, while this year the number stands at 224.

At the eight grounds under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), there is no such issue of crowding, said councillor Narendra Chawla.

“The only issue is that because these are Covid patients, only the dedicated staff has to do the various rituals, which was earlier being done by the families. Otherwise, we have space,” he said. South MCD has cremation grounds at Punjabi Bagh, Hastsal, Subhash Nagar, Lodhi Road, Sarai Kale Khan, Dwarka Sector 24, and Lal Kuan, and a burial ground at ITO.



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