Shops selling funeral kits witness dull business

Restrictions due to the pandemic situation and fear in the mind of people are the two major hurdles to the business
Rahima Iqubal Shaikh, a shopkeeper of antim-kriya vidhi kit (kit for final rites) at her shop in Ganj peth.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Rahima Iqubal Shaikh, a shopkeeper of antim-kriya vidhi kit (kit for final rites) at her shop in Ganj peth.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Published on Sep 27, 2020 05:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByJigar Hindocha

Shops selling kits for final rites (antim-kriya vidhi) continue to witness a dull business even though death rate has increased in the city due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Friday Pune district’s death toll was 5,535 as per the state health department. While according to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) data the death toll was 3,374. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, the death toll was 1,003.

Restrictions due to the pandemic situation and fear in the mind of people are the two major hurdles to the business for people as they are not able to give respected last farewells to their loved ones.

“Those patients who have died due to the Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes the Covid-19 infection are directly cremated in furnaces and relatives not allowed to handle the body. So in such cases, the final rites kits are not required. In case of non-Covid-19 deaths, people are taking kits,” said a shopkeeper on condition of anonymity. He runs a shop of Shamsan fund Committee Pune at Mandai.

“These days hardly one-two people come to buy the kits in a week. Earlier, at least three to four people used to come in a week,” he said.

Due to the surge in the number of deaths, the administration has increased crematorium centres to 11 from two and now pyre cremation for Covid bodies is allowed.

“We have all stock piled up and there has been no shortage of any material but the rush of people remains the same as it was the pre-Covid situation,” added a shopkeeper from Shamsan fund Committee, Pune.

However, in cases of burial, the carpet and wooden plank are allowed.

“The rate of carpet which was 100 earlier have gone up to Rs 130 now and wood plank which was sold at Rs 300 each has now gone up to 500,” explained Rahima Iqbal Shaikh, who runs Dattu Hakim Clothes and General Store.

“Other things like demand for cloth which is also used to wrap the body is also on the decline these days,” added Shaikh.

For Shaikh, dealing with customers is also a challenge while maintaining social distance and all other safety norms.

“We don’t allow customers to come inside the shop, even the money which we take is sanitised. We can’t keep our shop closed as we provide an essential service,” he said.

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