With a rapid incline in the number of deaths due to COVID-19, the New Cemetery for Muslims at Delhi Gate is under stress and may have no space left for burials by the end of June, a member of the graveyard's management committee said today.
The graveyard, near Daryaganj in Delhi that is functional since 1924, has been receiving 10-12 bodies of COVID-19 patients daily for burial for the past few days, said Masroor Siddiqui, a member of the graveyard's management committee.
Since April 1, nearly 300 bodies have been buried by following COVID-19 protocol at the graveyard. There is space for 100-150 more burials at the cemetery spread over nearly 50 acres, he said.
"So far, there is no problem of space but if the current rate of COVID-19 victims' burial continues by the end of the month, there may not be land for any further last rites," he said.
The problem is that other graveyards are not allowing burial of coronavirus victims and those bodies are being diverted to this cemetery, he claimed.
A Delhi Waqf Board official said burials following COVID-19 protocol are also being conducted at other graveyards in Mongolpuri, Dwarka, Khadar and Ghazipur.
"However, the graveyard near Delhi Gate is witnessing maximum number of burials. A total 299 burials following COVID-19 protocol were conducted till date," he said.
Meanwhile, the municipal corporations, citing data from crematoria and burial sites, have claimed that over 2,000 COVID-19 deaths have taken place in Delhi even though the latest official tally stands at 984 till Wednesday.
At a press conference on Thursday, senior leaders of municipal corporations claimed that the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Delhi stood at 2,098.
The number of deaths due to the pandemic under South Delhi Municipal Corporation was 1,080, under North Delhi Municipal Corporation was 976, and 42 under East Delhi Municipal Corporation, claimed Jai Prakash, chairperson of the Standing Committee of the NDMC.
The Delhi government has said it has set up a Death Audit Committee comprising of senior doctors, who are working impartially towards assessing deaths caused by the coronavirus infection.
Delhi recorded 1,501 fresh coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the COVID-19 tally in the city to over 32,000 while the death count due to the disease mounted to 984, authorities said.