Bengaluru under pyre


Open cremation ground which can consign 24 bodies to flames in one go becomes operational in Giddenahalli

Though the city is opening as many cremation grounds as possible to cremate the dead, the space is still less and the wait to cremate the dead still remains the same. On Friday, the third open cremation ground in Giddenahalli started operating with cremating 24 bodies.

The Giddenahalli open cremation ground is a huge quarry land, one among the three open spaces which were allotted for open cremations last week after electric crematoriums were overloaded, resulting in long queues. The volunteers and the family members going to the crematoriums to cremate the bodies would wait for 10 hours for their turn to come. Even after opening three open cremations, the situation still remains the same, according to the volunteers and the family members of the deceased.

Family members of one of the covid bodies which came in after 6 pm at the Giddenahalli open cremations said that they had visited four crematoriums and all of them were full and had long queues. “We went to three crematoriums where there were at least ten ambulances outside and the fourth one too had a long queue. We went inside the crematorium when they referred us to Tavarekere and from there, we ended up coming here,” he said.

About 21 iron platforms were kept ready in Geddenahalli where the bodies started filling in one after the other and by noon, all 21 were full. Since there was another body which was already waiting, the staff arranged pyre woods on the cement ground and cremated the 22th body. Meanwhile, on the other side, the workers were building more iron platforms and shelters.

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One of the workers said, “We are getting 25 more platforms with iron sheet shelters so that the rain wouldn’t affect the cremation. For Friday, we had allotted only 21 cremations but we got three more after 6pm and those platforms which were being prepared on the other side was shifted on the ground and the cremation was carried out as we did not want to send anyone away.”

Due to light showers on Friday evening, the workers were seen struggling to keep the fire going and were throwing extra wooden logs to the pyres so that it doesn’t go off while they were being drenched in rain with the PPE kits on.

One of the volunteers who was assisting a family with their last rites said, “On Thursday too, there was a long queue outside the Panathur crematorium and we had to wait for 12 hours for the body to be cremated. There were two instances where the ambulance drivers left the body outside the crematorium and returned to their duty as they could not wait for so many hours. We are not aware about the third open cremation ground but the situation outside the crematoriums remained the same on Friday as well,” he said.

DC Urban, Manjunath, said that cremations in one portion of Geddenahalli had begun on Friday where as many as 25 bodies can be cremated at one go. He added that the other portion would be ready soon.



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Sagar Biswas

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