ERODE: With Erode district reporting an increasing number of Covid-19 deaths, electric crematoria across the district are working beyond their capacity, leading to frequent repair. The district started reporting double figures in Covid-19 deaths from May 20. Crematoria, however, have been receiving more bodies than the reported number of deaths for the last one month.
In Aathma, the corporation’s electric crematorium with two furnaces, at least 30 bodies are cremated daily. Hospitals give the bodies to relatives only if they manage to find a time slot in any of the crematoria or a photo of the burial pit is sent to them. Aathma receives more requests than its capacity allows it to. At least half of the bodies cremated are of Covid-19 patients, according to sources.
The continuous use of furnaces is leading to frequent repairs of the equipment. “On Wednesday, both the furnaces stopped functioning. One was repaired and is currently functioning. We have been operating them 24 hours for more than ten days now. The equipment is not able to handle the heat. We have cremated 38 bodies in a single day,” said M Elangovan, Corporation Commissioner. “We are currently preparing the land opposite Aathma, where cremations used to take place, for deep-burial of bodies. Until the other furnace is repaired, relatives who prefer burying the bodies can use it,” he added.
He also mentioned that patients from Pallipalayam in Namakkal district and relatives of patients from other districts admitted in Erode hospitals prefer to cremate the bodies leading to an increase in the count. The situation is similar in the crematorium in Perundurai, which also has two furnaces and handles nearly 25 bodies daily. One of the furnaces stopped functioning on Thursday.
Though the situation in crematoria in other municipalities, including Gobichettipalayam, Sathiyamangalam, and Pujai Puliyampatti, is slightly better, even they run for longer hours than usual.
Meanwhile,people from Muslim and Christian communities, who prefer burying the body, also find it difficult to get space to lay to rest their loved ones and requested the district administration to allot land for burial purposes.