By: Pramod Thomas
METAL structures of furnaces at some crematoriums in Surat in western Indian state of Gujarat have started melting as they are being used round-the-clock due to the rush of bodies amid the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said on Tuesday (13).
Around 16 gas-based furnaces at the Kurukshetra crematorium and Ashvini Kumar crematorium are operating 24X7, hence maintenance issues are cropping up, they added.
The metal frames of gas furnaces and chimneys are melting or breaking because of overheating and excessive use, reported the PTI.
Surat city reported 18 to 19 deaths due to Covid-19 every day.
“Before the coronavirus outbreak last year, around 20 bodies were cremated at the Kurukhsetra crematorium every day. At present, we are handling about 100 bodies per day,” Kamlesh Sailor, president of a trust which manages the crematorium, told PTI.
According to him, the temperature at the crematorium reaches up to 600 degrees celsius.
Ashvini Kumar crematorium, the oldest facility in Surat, is also facing similar issues and its management has decided to increase the number of traditional wood pyres to manage the rush of bodies in case of maintenance issues in the gas furnaces.
“We operate 10 gas furnaces and three wood pyres. Earlier, we used to cremate about 30 bodies every day. Now, the number has gone up to 95,” said crematorium manager, Prashant Kabrawala.
“We recently installed heat-resistant bricks in two of our furnaces, which were shut for some time. Our maintenance engineers are visiting the crematorium almost daily as we are facing these issues every day,” he said.
He added that they have decided to add two more wood pyres in the wake of frequent maintenance issues.