Remains of the day


As reported by Bangalore Mirror, the Giddenahalli open crematorium has been abandoned due to low death figures. The site now resembles a post-Apocalyptic world

On Friday, the Giddenahalli open cremation ground officially shut down. It stopped conducting cremations of covid bodies, nearly a month after it was set up.

When covid cases started rising in April, long lines were seen outside crematoriums. As families of the dead waited for two and three days for their loved ones to be cremated, the State government decided to open mass cremation grounds in Chennenahalli, Giddenahalli and Anekal to bury covid bodies. Bangalore Mirror’s reporters and cameraperson had brought you information from the spot, and we were there on the day it stopped conducting cremations.

It was eerie to see the open cremation ground desolate, with the remnants of the platforms submerged in water from the first monsoon rains.

The Giddenahalli cremation ground used to cremate over 60 bodies every day but on Friday, one could see logs of unused wood lying all around, urns with ashes waiting to be collected stacked to a side, and platforms lying vacant. But the memory on a few thousand cremations is singed into the air.

Over 1,000 bodies have been cremated at the Giddenahalli cremation ground from April 30 till date. On May 8, it received the highest number of bodies, 66 to be precise. On June 1, it received none. Manjunath, Urban DC said that the number of bodies coming to the mass-cremation ground had been decreasing steadily and which led them to shut Giddenahalli from Friday.

The ground seemed to be hurriedly evacuated but Manjunath said, “We are yet to clear the place and a lot of work is pending. Many families have not come to collect the last remains

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and have requested for some time. We are still in the process of collecting all the last remains and shifting them to another building nearby where the family members can come and collect them. The movable platforms will be shifted to another building while the fixed ones will remain as a standby for the future. The extra wooden logs that are unused and kept aside on the cremation ground will be returned in batches. Many things have to be disposed of and shifted from the place which we will be doing soon. A lot of manpower was being wasted with not much work as the cases were also going down.”

We are yet to clear the place and a lot of work is pending. Many families have not come to collect the last remains and have requested for some time

— Manjunath, Urban DC

Giddenahalli, one of the biggest cremation grounds, was located on an open quarry. Due to the space available, families were allowed to be present during the cremation and even carry out some rituals away from the funeral platforms.

The cremation ground had cremated 24 bodies on the first day, April 30. After this, the number of cremations continued to rise steadily. More platforms were set up to accommodate the numbers.

Numbers fall

As the number of covid positive cases continue to fall, so do the number of deaths as is evident by the absence of long queues outside crematoriums. From 347 deaths registered in Thursday’s bulletin, the figure stands at 206 on Friday.

A BBMP official had clarified about the discrepancy in the number of deaths in the bulletin and lack of cremations and burials on the ground, “Yesterday’s BBMP bulletin lists the number of deaths as 347, one of the highest we have had. But this is not the number of deaths recorded in 24 hours. This is because of data lagging. This number is the cumulative deaths over the last few days.”



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Sagar Biswas

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