Pune: Against the backdrop of rising COVID-19 deaths, cremation of the deceased will now be permitted at all the 21 crematoriums being operated by the Pune civic body (Pune Municipal Corporation). The Municipal Corporation has also requested different organisations to help them in performing the last rites. The PMC has also started an online process to issue a cremation pass to relatives of the deceased.
"In the first COVID-19 wave, the daily count of bodies coming to crematoriums was 30 to 40 and we used to cremate these bodies in four electric facilities. But since the daily count of bodies coming to crematoriums has increased, the PMC has allowed cremation of COVID-19 deceased at all (21) facilities," said Srinivas Kandul, Heads, Electrical Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation was quoted as saying by PTI.
Apart from electric and gas cremation, the last rites of COVID-19 patients can now be performed using wood pyres. He also informed that due to continuous operation and the use of plastic for wrapping up bodies at electric cremation facilities, the facilities are breaking down. "To deal with this situation, we are now taking all 45 to 50 dead bodies of COVID-19 patients from the Sassoon General Hospital to Vaikunth crematorium where cremation is done on 12 wood pyres," he said.
USE OF WHITE COAL FOR CREMATION
The civic body recently also decided to use white coal at crematoriums, where bodies of COVID-19 patients are being cremated. It will help to reduce air pollution levels after residents in the area complained of heavy smoke.
Kandul said since Vaikunth crematorium is surrounded by a residential area, some complained about the smoke deriving from the wood fire. "To deal with this issue, we have begun using white coal (bio-coal briquettes) which is eco-friendly and non-polluting for cremation," he said.
Kandul also said that the surge in fatalities is creating pressure on the present transport facilities.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Pune (Pune city) registered 4,631 new cases, taking the progressive count to 4,00,117 while 55 deaths pushed the tally to 6,498, according to the data released by the health department.