The Vijay Rupani-led Gujarat government on Wednesday, May 12, announced that the state will recognise the workers at the crematoriums as frontline corona warriors and extend monetary assistance to their families if any such individual dies on COVID duty.
With the other benefits that come along with the title, the family members of the crematorium workers who die due to COVID-19 infection will be provided with ₹25 lakh.
The decision was taken by the state's core committee and will be effective retrospectively from April 1, 2020, as reported by Economic Times.
The move is expected to benefit hundreds of workers, across the state, who have been burning the midnight oil to ensure final rites to the patients who succumbed to the virus.
Visuals of overburdened ghats and reports highlighting the grim situation of these overworked and underpaid workers have been making headlines. With a spike in the number of cases, fatalities have risen too.
The Indian Express, on May 7, reported that open cremation grounds had been set up in three villages by the Vadodara district administration. Although temporary, these grounds had been put in place to facilitate quicker cremation of patients and were heavily guarded by police officials.
With crematoriums forced to run round the clock, there have been reports of furnaces melting and chimneys breaking down. There have also been instances when people have been turned away owing to a lack of space.
Another Times Now report stated that a garbage dumping ground was turned into a crematorium to prevent the bodies from piling up.
At present, Gujarat has 1,27,483 active coronavirus cases and has registered 5,78,397 recoveries from the disease so far.