Chennai records a steep rise in funerals

Gagandeep Singh Bedi calls for meeting of engineers today

The city has been seeing a steep rise of over 300% in the number of bodies cremated at major burial grounds under the control of the Greater Chennai Corporation since the first wave of COVID-19 last year.

Where there used to be seven bodies a day for cremation, now there are 28, a senior official said. “The number of cremations has crossed 350 a day, and this extraordinary increase has led to malfuction in some crematoria/gasifiers,” the official explained. Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi on Thursday inspected burial grounds to resolve issues reported by residents. Mr. Bedi has called a meeting of executive engineers on Friday to repair crematoriums and redress the grievances of residents.

On Thursday, ambulances and hearses had to wait for several hours at burial grounds. A large gathering of people was found at burial grounds on Thursday. For instance, more than 30 bodies were cremated in Velangadu. The tremendous increase in the load caused the equipment to malfunction and residents took to social media to flag the delay in cremations.

Karuna Prasad, a resident, posted on Wednesday evening about the difficulties faced by mourners. He said a body was not cremated on Wednesday in burial grounds located in areas such as Kannamapet and Nungambakkam, reportedly because of the malfunctioning of equipment. The body had to be taken Pozhichallur.

Under repair

On Thursday, the crematorium in Mylapore did not function as the equipment was under repair.

Meanwhile, residents in the neighbourhoods of several crematoriums alleged that the workers demanded ₹15,000 for cremation because of the demand for allocation of time slots.

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