Karimnagar: The Re 1 funeral scheme implemented by Municipal Corporation of Karimnagar (MCK) has been of immense help to the poor in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Cashing in on the deadly Covid crisis, some individuals have been collecting Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 to perform funerals of Covid patients. Managements of some private hospitals have been collecting Rs 50,000 from the family members of the deceased person and paying Rs 30,000 to individuals who carry out the final rites.
Unable to pay such a huge amount, the poor are availing the Re 1 funeral scheme. In order to perform the final rites of the poor free of cost, MCK led by the then Mayor S Ravinder Singh introduced the scheme ‘Anthima Yatra-Akri Safar’ in June 2019.
Besides constituting a separate team to implement the scheme, MCK purchased body freezers, vehicles to carry bodies to the burial ground. Since then, the scheme has successfully been implemented in the corporation limits.
In the wake of the corona outbreak, it has become a boon for the poor since a number of people succumbed to the virus.
A four-member team of Karimnagar Madiga Sangham has been performing the final rites of the poor on behalf of MCK under Re 1 scheme. They perform the rituals by wearing PPE kits on the bank of the River Manair on the outskirts of Karimnagar town.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Sangham vice-president Gali Raju informed that earlier, they used to perform funerals of two to three bodies every day. However, the figure has increased to 10 to 12 during the last one month.
While Rs 8,000 was paid for the funeral of a normal body, Rs 10,000 was provided for Covid body by MCK. Rs 2,000 additional amount is being provided for packing charges, including PPE kits, sanitisers and other expenditure.
The private funeral teams, which were collecting huge amounts from the family members of the people who died of Covid, were finally handing the bodies over to them since non-members of Sangham have no right to perform final rites in the crematorium.
When asked about the fear of touching Covid-infected bodies, he said initially, they were scared to perform final rites and their family members also disagreed. However, over a period of time, it has become routine.
While 150 funerals of Covid patients were performed in 2020, 100 were done so far this year, he informed.
Practice will continue, says Mayor
Stating that Re 1 funeral scheme was a continuous process, Karimnagar Mayor Y Sunil Rao said it was helping the poor especially in these times of Covid-19 pandemic.
MCK was paying an additional amount to perform the funeral of Covid-infected bodies. Last year, Karimnagar Madiga Sangham asked Rs 12,000 to perform final rites of Covid positive bodies. In this regard, a decision would be taken soon.