Villagers are totally ignorant of the corona protocols for cremations as are followed in the state capital.
Villagers are totally ignorant of the corona protocols for cremations as are followed in the state capital.

BHOPAL: The corona protocols for cremation are not in place in villages of Bhopal. The villagers are even not aware of it and they, themselves, are performing the last rites of their relatives. All the villages have crematoriums and not a single has any corona protocol put in place for the last rites.

As corona tests are a rare occurrence in the villages around Bhopal, the villagers are getting cured at home after the infection and, after death, their last rites are being performed in crematoriums by their relatives.

There have even been incidents where a family has performed the cremation of two women in their village after the patients died of corona in their village. This, surely, is not one incident. In this situation, the chances of a spread of corona in the villages are high, but, still, the administration has not intensified corona tests in the rural areas. They have only started a survey to identify the number of persons with cold, cough or sneezing.

We spoke to a few village sarpanches who claim there is no primary health centre nearby and, thus, corona tests are not being carried out. "We have people down with fever in most of the houses, but we can't determine whether it is due to corona or any other infection," says Man Singh Patel, former janpad adhyaksh. He says there have been several deaths in the neighbouring villages, but the reason is not known. All the bodies were cremated in the village crematoriums and without following any protocols as all were considered natural deaths, he adds.

Suresh Indoriya, village head of Padariya, says that, in April, two women had died due to corona in the same family on the same day. The family performed the last rites in the village crematorium, he says.

Parikshit Singh, a social worker says there have been 17 deaths this month in Barkheda Nathu village due to some or the other ailment and "we can't rule out corona infection behind a few of those deathsî. ìMost of the deceased had symptoms of the corona," he says. But, in none of the cases, did the administration enforce any protocols at the crematoriums, he adds. The government must intensify corona testing in the villages, says Singh.

Cremation of all the bodies in the same crematorium is likely to spread infection as special measures are there to perform the last rites of a corona patient. Tests have been intensified in the villages and, so, patients will be identified.
Dr Pankaj Shukla, director, NHM

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