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As crematoria get crowded in Madurai, laying loved ones to rest carries risk to life

Crematoria and burial grounds in Madurai could soon become hotspots of Covid-19.

Published: 30th May 2021 05:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2021 05:33 AM   |  A+A-

Representational image (Photo |PTI)

Express News Service

MADURAI: Crematoria and burial grounds in Madurai could soon become hotspots of Covid-19. The city’s two electric crematoriums, at Thathaneri and Moolakarai, have been receiving huge crowds of relatives of the deceased, sparking fears that Covid-19 would spread further due to the poor implementation of protocols, such as maintaining physical distance.

While Thathaneri and Moolakarai have two electric cremation units each, to meet the demand, the Madurai Corporation is constructing two more units at Thathaneri. The new units are expected to be ready within a week. Sources at the crematorium say they receive at least 40 bodies daily, and it takes about an hour to carry out an electric cremation and more than four hours for a traditional pyre to burn out.

“As the case load is increasing day by day, relatives of the deceased are now issued tokens and told to wait. But the premises doesn’t have basic amenities, such as drinking water, toilet facilities and a waiting hall. The place is not disinfected regularly, and on most days, there are huge crowds violating all the protocols. It’s impossible to manage the crowd, as the people are grieving and are easily irked when we tell them to follow the rules,” the sources add.

In most cases, the cause of death is attributed to viral pneumonia, pneumonia and suspected Covid-19, in medical records. Less than five cases per day are officially-declared Covid-19 deaths. Social workers provide PPE kits, gloves and face shields to the family members to perform the last rites.

Manikandan, a city-based social worker who runs a free burial service for the abandoned, suggests that the payment be digitised and manual entries computerised, as this would also ensure increased transparency.

What the crematorium workers want

To be categorised as frontline workers

Regular health check-ups

Free meals while at work

Improvement of infrastructure



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