After a surge in cases showed visuals of bodies floating in Ganga, the Centre asked Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Sunday, 16 May, to prevent the dumping of bodies in the holy river and its tributaries.
There have been reports of decomposed or partially burnt bodies dumped in the river, in a rather “alarming” number of cases, following which a review meeting was conducted by the Centre on 15 and 16 May.
“Namami Gange directs states to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and focus on their safe disposal and providing support for ensuring dignified cremation,”Jal Shakti Ministry said, as per PTI
The meeting was chaired by Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, who reviewed the steps taken by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in this manner, and further action points were decided.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Water Commission and the state pollution control boards have been directed to give their feedback and action plans to stop the dumping of dead bodies, as well as to ensure their safe disposal and protection, and monitoring of water quality in consultation with health departments.
The Jal Ministry said, as per PTI, that cremation needs top priority support. There should be no loss of time in implementation of government orders.
As per the report, the advisory to do so was issued by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, to the district magistrates, who also function as the chairpersons of the district Ganga committees, on 11 May.
The following day, letters have been sent to chief secretaries to ensure enforcement of guidelines in the cremation of deceased COVID patients, to regulate the rates for the burial process as well as provide financial assistance added the report.
Follow up action and patrolling is being undertaken in districts of Unnao, Kanpur rural, Ghazipur and Balia in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar and Saran in Bihar.
Rajnish Dubey, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, and Anurag Shrivastav, Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, represented Uttar Pradesh in the meeting, as per the report.
Dubey stated financial support of ₹5,000 by Panchayati Raj department for rural areas, whereas Anand Kishore, Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, Government of Bihar, informed that the state is to carry out the burial expense of COVID casualties.
Even those without a report who showed symptoms will be provided the support.
(With inputs from PTI)