‘People Lining Up With Bodies’: Goa Crematoriums Under Strain

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As Goa witnesses a devastating surge COVID-19 infections, leaving hospitals overburdened in the coastal state, crematoriums in the region are as dismal, with bodies continuing to line up for last rites.

In Margao city, one of the oldest crematoriums in Goa, managed by Mathagramasth Hindu Sabha, had to construct four additional platforms and dedicate three of its existing ones to COVID-19 casualties, PTI reported.

The president of the facility, Bhai Naik, told PTI, "We opened our doors to cremate people who died due to COVID-19, as we realised that they were not being taken in by others. This was in June last year when the first death was reported.”

"You will see people queuing up with bodies for final rites. The scene is grim," he added.

Further, he said that it was open to cremating patients from all religions and said that last rites of patients are performed between 5 pm to 6 pm every day.

In Panaji’s St Inez’s area, the town-run crematorium has employed additional resources in view of the rush.

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An official said, “We can’t send the bodies back. We conduct the final rites after observing all the necessary standard operating procedures,” PTI reported.

The Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) on Friday, 14 May, announced that it will waive additional charges on providing hearse van services to the kin of those who died of COVID-19 at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, PTI reported.

Rohit Monserratte, CCP Mayor, said Rs 100 would be charged for providing No Objection Certificates and Rs 500 for ferrying bodies by hearse vans.

He added that the facility would only be available to residents of Panaji.

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