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Delhi crematorium adds furnaces as Covid-19 deaths soar

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More furnaces and pyres are being made available amid the coronavirus pandemic at the main cremation facility in New Delhi, which reported 111 deaths Sunday, the highest level among Indian states.

The capital has been one of the epicentres of the pandemic in India, which is second only to the United States in its Covid-19 caseload. 

The country has reported 9.09 million coronavirus cases so far and 133,227 fatalities.

New Delhi has been reporting more than 5,000 new cases on most days since the end of October and around 100 deaths daily.

Three more gas-lit furnaces and 13 wood-lit pyres would start operating from Monday at Nigambodh Ghat for people who succumbed to Covid-19, a statement from the civic corporation said. 

Nigambodh Ghat is the city’s largest cremation facility. It already has 52 wood-fired pyres and three CNG furnaces for pandemic victims.

Around 80 per cent of India’s 1.3-billion population are of the Hindu faith and cremate their dead.

Volunteers helping the Covid-19 affected say the situation is grim. 

“Families are waiting for hours at the crematorium for their turn,” said Jitendar Singh Shunty of the voluntary organization Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal.

“We sometimes have to take three, four bodies to the crematorium in the same van.”

There was no shortage of cremation facilities, civic corporation spokesperson Ashok Rawat said. “We were getting around eight to nine Covid patients daily, earlier, now there are around 20-22 every day.”

Hospitals had been requested to stagger the release of bodies of pandemic fatalities.


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