Mangaluru, April 26, 2020: In a welcome relief from the raging morbid debate regarding safe disposal of bodies of patients who succumb to Covid-19 pandemic, city MLA Vedavyas Kamath has proposed making the existing electric crematorium at Boloor as the official cremation venue for all such cases. It may be recalled that the city has already seen two Covid-19 fatalities and in both cases there was widespread resistance from the locals against cremating the bodies in their area as they feared that they would be exposed to risk of catching the dreaded disease.
In the last such incidence on which took place on Thursday night, the body of a 75 year old woman had to be taken from crematorium to crematorium until finally the police forcibly cremated the body at Hindu Crematorium at Kaikunje amid opposition by locals. Surathkal MLA was blamed for taking the side of the protestors and averting the cremation originally scheduled at Pachchanady which falls in his constituency. Social media got flooded with messages condemning Shetty for his insensitive stance in denying a dignified funeral to the dead victim.
Acting swiftly on the growing disenchantment, Mangaluru City South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath tried to gain the confidence of the locals at the Hindu Crematorium at Boloor. He visited the place and tried to convince the people that cremating the bodies of Covid-19 victims would not endanger their lives in any way as guidelines of WHO and union health ministry would be strictly followed. The crematorium is run by Mangaluru City Corporation and has an electric furnace in addition to conventional firewood pyres.
“A tacit understanding that final rites of all Covid-19 patients in Dakshina Kannada will be performed at the Hindu crematorium at Boloor has been reached at with stakeholders. Cremating bodies in such a controlled environment is deemed safe course of action and has also been recommended in guidelines issued by WHO,” Kamath said.
“Cremation will be carried as per guidelines of union ministry of health and family affairs. Steps have been taken to ensure there is no obstruction to giving any Covid-19 victim the dignity they deserve in death,” he added.
He said the decision regarding this was taken at a meeting of stakeholders which included mayor Diwakar, local corporator Jagadish Shetty and Mangaluru assistant commissioner Madan Mohan in attendance. The decision has been subsequently conveyed to the district administration, Kamath said.