Though Odisha has been witnessing a decline in daily Covid-19 cases since the last few days, fatalities due to the virus keep mounting. As a result, the biggest cemetery for Muslim community at Satya Nagar in the Capital City is running out of space for the burial of bodies.
The Muslim community residing in Bhubaneswar informed that as many as seven to eight bodies of Covid-19 victims are received at the cemetery on a daily basis these days.
Moreover, bodies from other districts are also brought to the Satya Nagar 'Kabristan' on a regular basis. This, they said, has led to the shortage of land due to which multiple burials are taking place at the same time in one grave.
"We were somehow managing the burials until sometimes back. But, as the rate of deaths have increased in the last few days, there is an acute shortage of ground for burials due to which we are forced to bury fresh bodies on top of a grave," said the caretaker of Satya Nagar Cemetery, Syyed Faizal Illahi.
"In the meantime, our problem has also compounded because we have to dig six feet due to the protocol to bury a Covid-19 infected body. But as we dig deep in the ground, we find skeletons due to which we have to fill soil again at that place and then bury the fresh dead body," he added.
The Satya Nagar 'Kabristan' is spread on 1.29 acre area and has the capacity to burry 700 bodies. But as the deaths due to Covid-19 infection has gone up, the cemetery has been facing acute shortage of land for the burials.
At this juncture, the Muslim community in the Capital City has demanded the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to allot them around five to seven acres of land which will resolve the immediate crisis like situation for burial of Coronavirus infected and Non-Coronavirus bodies.
Musraf Khan, Organiser of Unit-3 Masjid said, "We are receiving seven to eight bodies of Covid-19 patients each day during the ongoing second wave. Apart from them, we are also getting non-Covid bodies. The diggers find bones and skeletons if they excavate deep in the ground. The labourers are also terrified to dig and many have stopped coming to work," he added.
"If the BMC allots us five to seven acres of burial ground in Bhubaneswar area, it can be developed and the demand can be met," demanded Khan.
On the other hand, the newly appointed BMC Commissioner, Sajay Singh said appropriate steps will be taken by the civic body in this regard.
"As the matter has come to the fore, I will look into it. I will take stock of the steps taken by the BMC in this regard. It will be sorted out soon," assured the BMC Commissioner.