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Patna civic body providing free cremation to coronavirus victims, fixes rate for non-COVID dead

The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), which is providing cremation of COVID-19 victims for free, has fixed rates for the last rites of those who did not die of the contagion at three crematoriums here, under its jurisdiction, to help their families escape extortion given the huge rush at the burning ghats, a senior officer of the civic body said on Wednesday.

As per the order, the charge for the cremation of those who did not die of COVID-19 has been fixed at Rs 1,500 for electric cremation and Rs 4,900 for pyre cremation.

“The rates include end-to-end expenditure, right from the transportation of the body in an ambulance from the home and completion of all rituals at the burning ghat,” Municipal Commissioner Himanshu Sharma told PTI.

He said the corporation has entered into an understanding with an NGO “Bhamasah Foundation” for the purpose.

The PMC will keep a close watch and will take the NGO to task in case of any complaint in this regard.

There are three crematoriums under the PMC- Bans ghat, Gulbi ghat, and the third one at Khajekalan-on the banks of the Ganga.

The fixation of rates for cremation has come at a time when grieving families of the deceased are facing harrowing time while performing the last rites of their dear ones.

Given the rush of bodies, including many COVID-19 victims, the affected families were facing painful experiences during cremation shelling out as high as Rs 15,000, much more than the fixed charge of Rs 300.

Sources in the three ghats said that in the last three days, around 60-70 COVID-19 victims were cremated at the three facilities. A little more than this number, who had died of other reasons, were also cremated.

The commissioner said that the fixation of cost includes everything right from the transportation of the body from home to expenditure on the shroud, milk, ghee, agarbatti, and other items required in the performance of the last rites as well as payment to the priest, dom raja, and barber.

The second surge of coronavirus has wreaked havoc in Bihar, with Patna being the worst-hit witnessing the maximum number of daily cases and casualties.

As per the last medical bulletin, out of 12,604 new coronavirus cases across Bihar Tuesday, Patna accounted for 1,837. The state capital reported 22 fatalities out of the 85 fresh deaths.

For COVID-19 victims, the Patna municipal corporation is providing free cremation.

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