Bodies of five COVID patients were cremated on a single funeral pyre at a Surat crematorium on Wednesday, 14 April.
In crematoriums across Gujrat fatalities due to COVID-19 are much higher than the state government's official COVID-19 data.
According to a report by The Times of India, at Gujarat's SSG Hospital, at least 180 people died in COVID ICUs in the last nine days. While the number of deaths in COVID ICUs in GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Gotri, were 115 since 7 April.
Combining these two government-run hospitals’ data, the death toll is close to 350 in a week. However, the government figures put the total death toll of the pandemic in entire Vadodara district at 300 since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.
Dharmesh Solanki, who handles cremations told TOI that in the last one week there have been "at least 22-25 patients daily in this designated COVID-19 crematorium. Nearly 7,500 kg of wood is being supplied by the Rotary Club, Ankleshwar, every day".
Melting Of Gas Furnaces at Crematoriums
The three crematoriums in Surat – Ramnath Ghela Crematorium in Umra, Ashwini Kumar Smashan in Dharam Nagar and Kurukshetra Smashan Bhumi in Jahangirpura – are working without a break. This has led to the melting of gas furnaces.
Before the pandemic, Ramnath Ghela Crematorium and Kurukshetra Crematorium would receive 20 bodies daily, on average.
However, the situation has drastically changed over the past two weeks. Now, these crematoriums receive around 80 bodies. Ashwini Kumar Crematorium, Surat’s biggest cremation facility, would attend to more than 30 bodies. But now, it is cremating nearly 110 bodies daily.
'Govt Not Hiding Any COVID Fatalities’: CM Vijay Rupani
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday, 9 April, however, rubbished such speculations. “If a comorbid patient dies, a committee of experts decides the primary and the secondary causes of such deaths. If that committee identifies the cause of the death as heart attack, then even though the patient was infected, such death is not counted as a COVID death. The same system is followed throughout the country,” he said in Ahmedabad.
(With Inputs from Times of India)