North corporation gets Rs 1.3 crore from IGL to repair cremation furnaces at Nigambodh Ghat
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation has received a fund of Rs 1.3 crore from Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) to repair its damaged CNG-based cremation furnaces at Nigambodh Ghat.
The Delhi government has authorised only three crematoriums in the Capital to dispose of dead bodies of Covid-19 patients or those who had symptoms of the infection.
Two of these are CNG-based: Nigambodh Ghat in Jamuna Bazaar, under the north corporation, and one in Punjabi Bagh, under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). The third is the electric crematorium on Lodhi Road under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
Besides these, five burial grounds for Muslim and Christian people, who die of Covid, have been approved at ITO, Mangolpuri, Madanpur Khadar and Shastri Park.
While each CNG furnace is capable of processing only four bodies per day, they have been receiving up to 18 bodies for cremation as per Covid protocol daily. The Covid dead body disposal Standard Operating Procedures are followed for those who have died of the disease and suspected cases as well.
“We are under a lot of pressure. We have six CNG-furnaces in Nigambodh Ghat, of which three were damaged and the rest functional. Till April, we were getting only four or five bodies for cremation with Covid protocol. The number has now gone up,” said Suman Gupta of the Nigambodh Ghat Sanchalan Samiti.
For instance, on May 12, the crematorium got 16 such bodies, and on May 13 and 14, they got 18 bodies each, Gupta said. From May 15-17, it has been getting 13 bodies each day, he said.
“This is why getting the other three dysfunctional furnaces running was important for us. Thankfully, we got Rs 1.3 crore from IGL,” said Vishal Mishra, another member of the Samiti. “We placed the work order on April 15 and started work on the furnaces today,” Dr. Ashok Rawat, municipal health officer of the north body said.
An IGL spokesperson, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “We have provided about Rs 1.3 crore under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and glad to have done our bit for the society in times of such a pandemic.”
The Punjabi Bagh cremation facility has four CNG-operated furnaces out of which two were defunct till a few days ago. The load of cremating bodies was being shouldered by two furnaces, resulting in delays in cremation.
“The two machines, which were under maintenance, have been repaired now, so all four furnaces are working. Now there is no pendency of bodies at the facility,” a senior SDMC official said.
The official said in the last three days, 40 bodies of confirmed Covid and suspected patients were cremated here. According to central government guidelines, bodies of Covid-19 patients can be carried cremated at CNG furnaces only as it ensures “closed and complete burning.”
Wood-based burning releases particulate matter in the air and is not recommended for patients with infectious diseases such as Covid or even tuberculosis.
“As many as 13 bodies were received at the Punjabi Bagh facility on May 16. While 16 were cremated on May 17, 11 were received for funeral on May 18. The cremation was done without any delay,” the SDMC official said.