Burial grounds are under pressure as Chennai has been reporting close to 100 deaths every day
The Greater Chennai Corporation has started renovating crematoria and improving the ambience of burial grounds in the city.
Chennai has been reporting close to 100 deaths due to COVID-19 every day in the past week, putting crematoria under unprecedented pressure.
Relatives of the deceased have to wait for long hours to get the ashes. The pandemic has spotlighted the need for more electric and gas crematoria and improving the ambience of the facilities, which are mostly decrepit.
A senior official of the civic body said the city has 37 burial grounds and 41 plants — 7 electric, 13 gas and 24 biomass plants. Five of them are not functioning.
While the northern region has eight units, the central region has 20 and the southern region has 13.
A system has been put in place, under which an assistant executive engineer of the unit office will visit the crematoria. If more than two bodies are waiting for cremation, he will take steps to shift the bodies to the nearest facility available. This system is mainly meant to take the pressure off a few crematoria and distribute the work equally across the network of crematoria.
At present, the system has been fine-tuned so that no cremation takes place after 8 p.m., unlike in the past few weeks, the official said.
The civic body is also taking steps to renovate a number of burial grounds. The burial grounds at Virugambakkam, Vadapalani, Nesapakkam, Kasimedu, Injambakkam, Krishnampet, Mylapore and Guindy have been renovated with additional chimneys, repairs and plumbing and a new coat of paint.
The Kannamapet burial ground has got two new gas plants, the official said.
The civic body is also improving the ambience at the crematoria by repairing the floors and handrails, installing compost yards, clearing garbage and removing wild bushes.
The official said that Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi had been undertaking surprise visits to the crematoria in order to ensure that they are maintained in accordance with the standards set by the Corporation.
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