PARADIP: Holding funeral in open spaces has sparked the fear of transmission of Covid in Jagatsinhhpur district. In the absence of electric crematoriums in Paradip and Jagatsinghpur towns, an NGO - which has been assigned the job of Covid cremations in the district - is carrying them out in open spaces.
Similarly in rural areas, as villagers are not allowing the NGO to use the local burial grounds for Covid funerals, they are forced to bury or cremate the bodies in the open spaces.
Norms mandate funerals must be conducted in such cases in either electric or gas crematoriums with bodies packed in leak-proof plastic body bags. In the case of burials, a body should be placed in a thick, air-tight coffin at a depth of four to six meters in the ground. The area of the grave should be cemented immediately and precautions followed afterwards to avoid scavenging by animals.
However, locals allege that funeral guidelines are not being adhered to exposing people to the infection. On Saturday, locals protested a cremation near the IOCL south gate in Sandhkuda area. Seeing the cremation being done in close proximity of the plant premises, its employees and locals raised objections stating that it may expose them to the risk of infection.Alleging that safety protocols are not being followed by the NGO workers, they informed the police and civic body officials.
Subsequently, officials of Paradip Municipality and Jatadhari Marine Police rushed to the spot and stopped the cremation. But, later the cremation was done 30 metres away from the spot. Executive Officer of Paradip Municipality Sourindra Kumar Routray claimed that after convincing the locals, the body was cremated in an isolated place near Sandhkuda area.
This is not the first instance. Last week, an infected person of Mandasahi in Jagatsinghpur died while undergoing treatment at the Paradip Covid hospital. His body too was cremated in the open space at Sandhkuda. Routray said efforts are on to build an electric or gas crematorium soon.