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Left with Huge Stockpiles of Ashes of Covid-19 Victims, Bhopal Crematorium Plans Mini Forest

Work underway at Vishramghat for the mini forest.

Work underway at Vishramghat for the mini forest.

As a huge volume of ashes was piled up and wasn’t possible to be immersed in any water body, the crematorium authorities decided to use it for the plantation purpose and also pay homage to the departed souls.

It was a dance of death for several months in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal as Covid-19 took a toll on lives in large numbers on daily basis early this year.

However, as the overworked crematoriums and graveyards worked for long hours letting the departed souls take the final journey, some of them are left with large amounts of mortal remains. Vishramghat at Bhadbhada area is one of them which is left with ashes in huge amounts.

One of the largest crematoriums in Bhopal spread in around 14-acre land, the facility is a dedicated Covid-19 crematorium. It saw surging numbers of the dead. The fatalities surged in such a way that by April, it had to set aside two-acre land for cremations.

“In April, we have the highest influx of dead bodies in a single day at 124, including normal ones as well,” said one of the trust officers.

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In April-May, during the Covid-19 peak, the facility required 550 tonnes of wood to cremate bodies on daily basis. There were large numbers of families who were apprehensive of the infection and even did not visit the crematorium with the dead, forget about visiting the facility for collecting ashes. Municipal workers had volunteered to cremate all these victims.

As the families only took away a small portion of ashes with them, the trust continued to pile up ashes which have now mounted to around 21 dumpers.

“As this huge amount wasn’t possible to be immersed in any water body, we decided to use it in plantation and also pay homage to the departed souls,” trust secretary Mamtesh Sharma said.

“Annually, we immerse unclaimed ashes in river Narmada after keeping these pots for a particular period,” said Sharma.

For immortalising the memories of the departed souls, the Bhadbhada trust has decided to have a mini-forest on a 12,000 sq ft area in the crematorium campus using the Japanese forestation method ‘Miyawaki’.

“We have decided to develop a Smriti Van in the memory of those who died in the pandemic and have urged the kin of those dead to plant saplings,” said trust president Arun Chaudhary, adding the trust will take care of these plants until they are fully grown.

The trust has urged the commoners also to visit the facility and plant saplings from July 5 to 7 and contribute to this noble cause.

The base in the Smriti Van has been developed with a mixture of soil, cow dung, sand, leaves and wood dust so that the trees grow faster, trust secretary Mamtesh Sharma said.

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first published:July 05, 2021, 15:29 IST