Puri: Even though the district administration has introduced several preventive measures to deal with the deadly coronavirus, it is yet to sanitise the Swargadwar—one of the busiest cremation grounds in the state.
Similarly, no step has been taken by the administration to disinfect Utkal Balashram, a childcare centre that houses around 90 children.
Swargadwar cremation ground has a close link with the Jagannath culture. Many people across the state and even outside usually prefer to perform the last rites of their near and dear ones at Swargadwar. It is believed that a person’s soul will meet the salvation if his body is consigned to the flames at Swargadwar.
A couple of months ago, the state government had sanctioned money for renovation of the cremation ground as part of an infrastructure development project to make Puri a heritage city. The administration has demolished certain old structures at Swargadwar and covered half of the cremation ground for the renovation while the remaining half has been left open for cremation of bodies.
As per the available data, at least 60 bodies are consigned to flames at Swargadwar every day. However, the number has come down significantly due to the nationwide lockdown over coronavirus.
“At least 10 bodies are being cremated at Swargadwar every day. Several people are coming to the ground to perform the last rites of their relatives. However, the administration is yet to sanitise Swargadwar. Similarly, no step has been taken to disinfect Utkal Balashram,” said a city-based intellectual.
When contacted, Puri district assistant fire officer Pradip Kumar Rout said the sanitisation drive over coronavirus is being conducted in phases. “We will sanitise Swargadwar soon,” he added.