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As Covid deaths rise, Bengaluru cremation grounds run non-stop

India Today logo India Today 10-05-2021 Nolan Pinto
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With a sharp rise in Covid-19 deaths, cremation grounds have been running non-stop on Bengaluru's outskirts.

At a long-unused cremation ground in Tavarekere, one can only see pyres burning. People working here have no time to waste since ambulances keep coming one after the other.

Meanwhile, inside Bengaluru, seven Covid crematoriums have been running almost round the clock for the past three weeks. One of them was shut down for maintenance on Saturday.

At the Tavarekere cremation ground, there are 41 iron platforms on which pyres can be lit in two shifts -- morning and evening. Each pyre takes around five hours to burn the body completely. So, close to 85 bodies are cremated in a day.

Only one family member wearing a PPE kit is allowed to perform the last rites.

Workers in PPE kits only shift the body from the ambulance onto the funeral pyre. Then, a group chops and places wood on the pyre, and another group cleans the pyre and gets it ready.

In the last 15 days, more than 800 bodies have been cremated here and the numbers are only increasing.

Just 6 km away is another cremation area recently opened by the government. This is a granite quarry in Geddanahalli where ambulances wait for their turn to take the body to the designated pyre along with the grieving family members.

The quarry has been flattened and sees 50 funerals a day. Workers come early in the morning, clean the pyres, remove the ash, place the wood and wait for the bodies to arrive. They have been doing this for the past 15 days.

In the city, at the TR Mills open cremation ground, close to 100 bodies a day have been cremated. With not enough space on the ground, the bodies have been cremated less than six feet apart.

The number of Covid deaths has been steadily increasing in the city, with Friday witnessing the highest number of deaths at 346. On Sunday, there were 281 deaths recorded in Bengaluru, out of the total 490 in Karnataka.

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