Raj crematoriums run out of space as urns of ashes pile up

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By Archana Sharma
Jaipur, April 29 (IANS)
Surging Covid cases, besides creating a crisis of oxygen, Remsdesivir and hospital beds, has also led to a space crisis in Rajasthan crematoriums, which are hard put to store the ashes of those whose last rites were held during the pandemic last year as their relatives have not yet returned to collect the urns for ritual immersion.
Eventually, the remains of those who passed away last year due to Covid are awaiting immersion in the Ganga for over a year, courtesy the pandemic panic, Shrinath Gaushala Charitable Trust President Santosh Jaisawal says.
“Many people performed last rites of their relatives who died of Covid, but have not yet reached out to us to collect their ashes.”
“Although we have stored their last remains in earthen pot for over a year, but now there is a space crisis as 30-35 average deaths are being reported here daily during the second wave of pandemic. Further, due to the lockdown in Rajasthan, Delhi and Uttarkahand, people are generally keeping the mortal remains here in the crematorium as they can’t go to Haridwar presently to immerse ashes,” she said.
The Trust’s General Secretary R.K. Sahara told IANS that they have made arrangements to store mortal remains, but at some point of time, will have to take a decision if no one comes to collect them. “In that situation, we will message all families, release an ad in newspaper and then will immerse them with full rituals,” he said.
In fact, trust officials are now reaching out to family members asking them to take back the remains so that they can make space in the crematorium to accommodate ash remains of those passing away presently to Covid second wave, said Jaisawal.
There are many pots lying wrapped in dusty covers with the name of the person, date of death and village name written on it, but no one from their family have taken the trouble to reach out to Trust officials to know its status, said the trust’s functionaries.
Many of the relatives were from outside Jaipur, who made excuses due to the lockdown and business issues, and have not returned.
Covid seems to be depriving the deceased from Moksha which, as per tradition, is attained when their ashes are immersed in the Ganga, said one of the trust officials.

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