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Hyderabad: Firewood shortage adds fuel to woes of Covid-dead kin
Funeral cost escalates from Rs 8,000 to Rs 25,000
Hyderabad: Cremation grounds, which are receiving an unprecedented rush of bodies, are failing to keep the firewood supplies going. The shortage of firewood has increased the price burdening the families of the dead. The alternative to firewood is electric crematorium. But not many cremation grounds have functional electric crematoriums.
Around 400 kg to 600 kg of wood is needed to burn a body. "Due to the increase in the number of deaths in the pandemic, there is a shortage of firewood. Most of the wood required in the city comes from Andhra Pradesh. Since the demand has increased, a shortage has been created which has increased the price of the wood," said Mallesh Sridhar Rao, In-charge, Hindu Smashana Vatika, Saidabad Erakunta.
Due to the shortage, the wholesale price of firewood has been increased from Rs 400 per quintal to between Rs 600 and Rs 900 per quintal. And the retail price has gone up from Rs 7 per kg to Rs 15 and some are also charging Rs 20 per kg.
In-charge at crematorium ground in Asif Nagar said that facing shortage of firewood, he had already ordered 5,000 quintals of wood last week, which he believed would suffice but now he requires more.
Now the demand for wood has been doubled, wood traders are not in a position to meet the demand. "We are unable to supply firewood as per the demand as the requirement has grown by 50 per cent more than the supply," said a trader near the crematorium ground in Madannapet.
Due to the shortage of firewood, funeral costs escalated from Rs 8,000 to between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000. With Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) making no efforts to come to the rescue of the families of the dead, the family members are making their own arrangements for the funeral of the deceased.
B Nageshwar, who came for the last rites of his uncle, said, "Since the last rites of the corona virus infected person should also be performed on firewood and with no electric crematorium at many grounds, we had to pay around Rs 30,000 for my uncle's final rites."