Burden on crematoriums, graveyards reduces as no of COVID cases fall in Delhi

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New Delhi, Jul 23 (PTI) After months of being burdened by coronavirus-related deaths, the workers at crematoriums and graveyards in the national capital are finally heaving a sigh of relief as the number of COVID-19 deaths have fallen significantly.

Officials of the crematoriums and graveyards said that the number of bodies being brought for final rites have decreased in the past few days.

At the New Cemetery for Mohammedans, the biggest Muslim graveyard in the city situated near Delhi Gate, over 400 bodies have been buried so far in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols.

'At the height of the pandemic 10-15 bodies were being brought here every day for burial. However, in the last few days, the numbers of such burials has come down to 2-3,' Haji Mian Faiyazuddin, the secretary of management committee of the cemetery said.

'Over 400 bodies have been buried so far in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols,' he said.

Some health experts have said that coronavirus curve is flattening and Delhi has crossed the peak.

June saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, with one day reporting over 90 fatalities. The number of deaths due to the disease have now come in the range of 20-40 every day. Faiyazuddin said there was a point of time when the committee feared that the 50-acre plot in old Delhi would not be able to accommodate more bodies. Now the situation is not as 'grave', but land availability is still a problem, he said.

'The graveyard is burdened so much because it is close to old city areas and people prefer burying the dead here. Also, following COVID-19 protocol means that more space is required for a body, compared to normal burials. The burden would be greatly relieved if the Waqf Board's graveyard near Millennium Park also starts burial of virus patients,' he said.

Suman Gupta, the secretary of Nigambodh Ghat crematorium, also said that the number of funerals has come down significantly from 25 and onwards a day to 10-12 daily.

He said the crematorium has the facilities of traditional wood pyres and three CNG-run furnaces, he said.

The downward trend was also reported from Punjabi Bagh Shamshan Ghat.

'We faced tremendous stress when the coronavirus infection was at its peak. We cremated 35-40 bodies daily in those days but now the number is 5-7 bodies a day on an average,' said a representative of Punjabi Bagh Shamshan Ghat. PTI VIT AAR AAR