For many in Karimnagar, the Re 1 funeral scheme has proven to be a lifesaver.
On behalf of MCK, the Karimnagar Madiga Sangham team conducts final rites for Covid positive bodies.
Biers arranged in a graveyard on the outskirts of Karimnagar city, on the bank of the River Manair.
Karimnagar: In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Municipal Corporation of Karimnagar's (MCK) Re 1 funeral scheme has been of great assistance to the poor.
Some people have been raising Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 to hold funerals for Covid patients, cashing in on the deadly Covid crisis. Some private hospital administrators have been receiving Rs 50,000 from the deceased's family members and paying Rs 30,000 to those who perform the final rites.
The poor use the Re 1 funeral scheme because they cannot afford to pay such a large sum. In June 2019, MCK, led by then-Mayor S Ravinder Singh, launched the ‘Anthima Yatra-Akri Safar' scheme to provide free final rites to the needy.
MCK ordered body freezers and trucks to transport bodies to the burial ground, in addition to forming a separate team to execute the scheme. The system has been successfully applied in the corporation limits since then.
Since a number of people died as a result of the corona outbreak, it has turned into a boon for the poor.
On behalf of MCK, a four-member team from Karimnagar Madiga Sangham has been conducting final rites for the poor under the Re 1 scheme. On the outskirts of Karimnagar city, they perform the rituals while wearing PPE kits along the banks of the River Manair.
Sangham vice-president Gali Raju said that they used to conduct two to three funerals every day in the past. During the last month, however, the number has risen to 10 to 12.
MCK offered Rs 10,000 for the funeral of Covid positive body, compared to Rs 8,000 for a regular body. An extra Rs 2,000 is set aside for packaging costs, such as PPE kits, sanitizers, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Since non-members of Sangham had no right to conduct final rites in the crematorium, the private funeral teams, who had been collecting large sums from the families of those who died of Covid, were eventually handing over the bodies to them.
Karimnagar Mayor Y Sunil Rao said the Re 1 funeral scheme was a continuous process that was helping the poor, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
MCK was paying an extra fee to have the remains of Covid-infected people buried. Last year, Karimnagar Madiga Sangham requested Rs 12,000 to conduct Covid positive bodies' final rites. A decision will be made soon in this regard.