Karnataka has recorded a relatively low mortality rate till now amid the ferocious second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s hardly any consolation for relatives of the increasing number of victims being brought for their final rites. In the past many days, waiting for extended hours at crematoria has only increased the anguish of the bereaved — so much so that the state government is now looking for temporary cremation grounds at many places, especially around capital Bengaluru.
Ramesh, one such relative of a recent COVID-19 victim, said that by the time they returned from the crematorium in Bengaluru’s Yelahanka area yesterday, it was 1.30 am.
“Ours was the 28th or 29th — the last body. It was 12 by then. By the time we went home and had a bath, it was 2am,” he said.
Another person, Ganesh, was still in the queue with the body at the Yelahanka facility when he spoke to NDTV today.
“We are next in line. You can see the queue. It is a token system,” Ganesh said.
Karnataka remains one of the worst COVID-19-affected states in the country till now with 21,794 fresh cases and 149 deaths reported yesterday alone, although its mortality rate is lower compared to many others.
Authorities, meanwhile, began scouting for locations across Karnataka today to set up temporary cremation grounds.
“The District Collector’s is already on the job. Borewell, electric points, water facility…all infrastructure (is needed) temporarily. This is land for temporary for burning of COVID victims,” said state Revenue Minister R Ashoka about Bengaluru. “Only those who are waiting with bodies will come here.”
Srinivasa, a relative of another victim, welcomed the move.
“It’s better than coming here and waiting and paying these people…and a queue of around 2 hours,” he said. “If they had done this earlier, we could have done all the last rites near our village.”