IIT-K to study impact of immersion of bodies in water, soil

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Kanpur (IIT-K) will now study the impact of the immersion/burial of bodies in water and soil.

According to Prof Vinod Tare, advisor to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the development comes in the backdrop of mass graves being discovered on the banks of the Ganga in Rae Bareli, Unnao, Kanpur, Fatehpur and Kannauj, and fears about possible contamination of water and soil if the bodies were of Covid-19 patients.

“We are going to study the impact of immersion of bodies and their burial on water and soil,” said Prof Tare, adding that the issue had been discussed at the NMCG level.

“Immersing a Covid body in Ganga would wash the virus, but it won’t be destroyed. You need different agents such as heat and others to destroy the virus,” he said.

Prof Tare, who is with the institute’s environmental science department, has been part of all top panels formed to rejuvenate the Ganga.

The professor sought a complete ban on immersion and burial on the riverbed and said the government should make arrangements in order to prevent the practice.

Prof Tare has issued an appeal to the people not to dump the bodies in the river or bury them close to it.

The graves found in Unnao, Kanpur and Kannauj in the last few days were shallow as bodies have been buried at less than two-to-three-feet. This has increased the fear that these corpses would be washed away once the river rises during monsoon.

Kanpur police commissioner Aseem Arun has said that arrangements would be made for proper cremation if the concerned families could not afford the cost.

The state government has also set up a unit of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), one platoon of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and jawans from river police to patrol the river on boats and prevent immersion of bodies in the Ganga.