MHO of North MCD decides to dismantle 3 out of 6 CNG furnaces
New Delhi: At a time when the national Capital is grappling to dispose of bodies of those who have died due to COVID-19, BJP-ruled North MCD, which ensures upkeep and maintenance of the Nigambodh Ghat cremation centre, has taken an almost "autocratic" decision to dismantle three CNG furnaces out of six located there. Owing to the decision, the capacity to dispose off bodies has reduced to half resulting in a backlog.
To handle the crisis, the authorities decided to allow cremation of bodies in the open by using wood which might cause infection among the staff and relatives who would be part of the last rites of the deceased persons. Notably, the agencies had decided to allow open area cremation after reports of pile-ups at various mortuaries came in due to the delay in the disposal at Nigambodh, tipped to be the largest cremation centre in the national Capital.
According to sources, at Nigambodh Ghat, six CNG furnaces were installed with maintenance and repair contract for 10 years but nothing has been done by the contractor in the past.
Now, to encash the situation, Dr Ashok Rawat, Medical Health Officer (MHO), has "single-handedly" decided the "life" of the furnaces to be 10 years only and has declared that three furnaces have outlived their age and hence, should be dismantled, also facilitating a replacement in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.
Moreover, while the pandemic is spreading like wildfire, it's likely to take more than two-and-a-half months before the new ones become fully operational. However, the three furnaces could possibly have been repaired at a minimal cost and time as one was recently restored.
Now, with the civic body beginning cremation on open wood-fire, there was no hurry to allow the work of replacement of the three furnaces without following the proper procedure.
It appears that when the entire city is reeling under the fear of COVID-19, the official did not leave any stone unturned to further escalate the situation.
When the Millennium Post tried to reach the MHO for his comment, he was not available for the past couple of days.
His sub-ordinate Rajesh Rawat, too, claimed that neither he nor his department has any connection with the Nigambodh Ghat related data of deaths, backlogs of bodies, and the like and hence, the reporter should speak to the office-bearers.
The Nigambodh Ghat staff, however, said the Health department officials of the North MCD should be contacted regarding the matter.