Even as hospitals in Goa see a surge in COVID-19 cases, the scenes at crematoriums in the coastal state are equally grim, as bodies continue to line up for last rites. One of the oldest crematoriums in Goa located in Margao city had to construct four additional platforms and dedicate three of its existing ones to cater to people who died of COVID-19.
The century-old crematorium, managed by Mathagramasth Hindu Sabha, opened its doors to deceased COVID-19 patients after it was found that they were not being entertained by other facilities. “We opened our doors to cremate people who died due to COVID-19, as we realised that they were not being taken in by others. This was in June last year when the first death was reported,” the president of the facility, Bhai Naik told PTI.
The institution is open to cremating deceased COVID- 19 patients from all religions, he said. Last rites of deceased patients are performed between 5 pm to 6 pm every day, Naik said.
“You will see people queuing up with bodies for final rites. The scene is grim,” he said. Considering the rush, the civic-run crematorium at St Inez in Panaji has roped in additional resources.
An official in charge of this facility said the burden has increased manifold, but there is no other option. “We can’t send the bodies back. We conduct the final rites after observing all the necessary standard operating procedures,” he said.
The Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) on Friday announced that it will waive of additional charges on providing hearse van services to relatives of patients who died of COVID-19 at the Goa Medical College and Hospital. CCP Mayor Rohit Monserratte said Rs 100 would be charged for providing No Objection Certificates and Rs 500 for ferrying bodies by hearse vans.
The facility will be available only for residents of Panaji, he added. As on Thursday, the COVID-19 caseload in Goa was at 1,30,130 and the toll reached 1,937.
Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari, who holds the additional charge as the Governor of Goa, reviews the covid situation in the state with Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and discussed the supply of oxygen, drugs and vaccines.