File photo: Contract workers in PPE equipment seen sanitizing the ambulance after transporting the body of a coronavirus victim at a crematorium in Pune, Maharashtra.

Agra’s Kshetra Bajaja Committee is providing dignity in death to deceased Covid-19 patients

The Kshetra Bajaja Committee of Agra has been identified for conducting the final rites of people that misplaced their lives and the our bodies remained unclaimed. With passing time, that position modified to performing the final rites of people that misplaced their lives in street mishaps and their our bodies weren’t claimed.

Amid these pandemic-ravaged instances, the organisation continues to serve town quietly and selflessly to grant dignity to the useless.

For three years, urns containing the ashes of the unknown are preserved with the organisation earlier than they’re immersed within the Ganga at Soron, close to Kasganj. Even for Covid-19 fatalities, Kshetra Bajaja retains the ashes of the useless in order that if a bereaved subsequent of kin turns up, they might be handed over the ashes of their beloved one.

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Kshetra Bajaja Committee is a physique energetic since 1885. At that point, the fabric retailers of Agra gathered collectively and determined that as a substitute of doing charity on a small, private degree, the society would profit extra if a collective effort, channelled in the direction of a single trigger was made. And thus, was born the Kshetra Bajaja Committee.

Over the years, so concerted and well-directed have the efforts been that they had been requested to handle the standard crematorium, and in 1996, when the electrical crematorium was constructed, the Agra district administration instantly handed over affairs of its functioning to the Kshetra Bajaja Committee.

Today, its members – some 700 material retailers of Agra – contribute to rearrange for the necessities of the electrical crematorium and wooden for the standard crematorium and different necessities, just like the working of the 5 automobiles used to take our bodies to the crematorium.

And it’s not simply the crematoriums the organisation runs but in addition an ayurvedic hospital within the metropolis and can be actively concerned in assembly the wants of the impoverished sick within the metropolis’s hospitals, like offering medicines, arranging for oxygen cylinders, and many others.

At the electrical crematorium, there are 15 to 25 our bodies cremated on daily basis in its three furnaces. “Sometimes, the number goes up to 30 as bodies of Covid-19 patients are also brought for cremation,” mentioned Kshetra Bajaja Committee president Sunil Vikal.

“Our members are selflessly contributing to this service despite them facing a tough time themselves in these times. In such a situation, we do expect the administration to extend a helping hand to the Kshetra Bajaja Committee in serving mankind,” Vikal added.

He mentioned that when the lockdown was imposed, there was a restriction on automobiles which drastically introduced down the variety of fatalities in street mishaps and the variety of unclaimed our bodies coming for cremation dropped.

“We have been preserving the ashes of those unknown or unclaimed bodies which we cremated and immerse them in Ganga at Soron near Kasganj after every three years. In these times of the pandemic, family members of a deceased Covid-19 patient are in quarantine and are unable to attend the last rites or collect the ashes. We have been preserving ashes in such cases also and wait for family members to come and collect them.

“There are 50 to 60 urns of such Covid-19 cases cremated at the electric crematorium and we have saved the ashes with dignity with a condolence message wrapped around them, awaiting family members to come and collect them. Many came in the unlock phase and took the ashes, thanking the committee,” Vikal mentioned.

“The acceptability of the electric crematorium among citizens has seen a surge in these times of the pandemic,” he mentioned.

However, this acceptability is new-found. “In the beginning, no one was prepared to cremate their dear departed in the electric crematorium even though it saved precious trees from being felled. There were various awareness campaigns launched to make the electric crematorium acceptable among people but that acceptance was slow to come,” Vikal mentioned.

“There was a time when only the socially aware and environmentally concerned would come to the electric crematorium but slowly and steadily, people have begun to opt for the electric crematorium without any bar of caste or economic status. That acceptability has been enhanced due to the pandemic as the cremation here at the electric crematorium is less cumbersome and manageable by a few,” he mentioned.

“With the pandemic raging, cremations at the electric crematorium have exceeded those in traditional crematoriums as our staff extends help to the few next of kin accompanying the body while wearing personal protective equipment. Otherwise too, cremations in the electric crematorium are less cumbersome and get over faster as we have three separate furnaces operating at 800 degrees Celsius,” Vikal mentioned.

“The number of cremations at the electric crematorium is thrice the number of traditional cremations where family members have to carry wood and prepare funeral pyre on their own. Now, only a limited number of family members accompany the dead, even if it’s a non-Covid death and thus, the utility of electric crematorium is being realised by Agra residents,” he added.

The Kshetra Bajaja Committee additionally working towards creating eco-awareness amongst Agra residents by organising seminars and talks in regards to the utility of an electrical crematorium whereas itemizing the ecological injury in making ready for a conventional cremation. With that intention in thoughts, it additionally organises walks for college kids. However, it’s left to relations whether or not to go for the standard technique or use the electrical crematorium. The committee by no means contacts bereaved households however has its employees on the electrical crematorium which arrives to work the furnace if a physique is introduced in.