Sagar: With bodies of COVID victims piling up outside the crematoriums in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district as pandemic fatalities are climbing, local people have alleged that funeral workers leave the half-burnt bodies along the roadside which are pecked at by dogs. People said that the odour and stray dogs feasting on half-burnt bodies of COVID-19 victims have escalated the risk of spread of infection at a high rate. Madhya Pradesh is one of the worst COVID-affected states in the country where the COVID fatalities have breached the 4K mark. There has been an unsettling gap in the crematorium data and the official data of COVID deaths released by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. In Sagar district, Naryavli Naka Mukti Dhaam crematorium is facing an acute shortage of wood and is running out of burial space. With the COVID deaths rising at a peak, the situation has become so grim that bodies are being cremated outside crematoriums and in open spaces. However, the Municipal corporation claimed that all the bodies are being cremated adhering to COVID protocols. Kuldip Valmikhi, an official of Municipal Corporation told. We are disposing of the bodies of COVID victims in a proper manner adhering to the health protocols. Today, we have cremated 32 bodies. People residing in nearby areas have complained of continuous smoke and environmental pollution. We are not facing any other issue. Family members of the COVID victims are made to stand in long queues to wait for their turns and at times are re-directed to other crematoriums. The overwhelming crematoriums, lack of space, half-burnt bodies of COVID victims have sparked fear among the locals of Sagar district. A local woman told Funeral workers are performing the last rites in open spaces. They are leaving the half-burnt corpses which are pecked at by dogs. This has increased the risk of spread of infection at an alarming rate. The foul smell is also bothering us. One of the kin of the COVID victim said, “We are waiting for our turn since morning. We came to the crematorium at 10 am and there is a shortage of wood. People living nearby areas are telling us to go to other crematoriums. The apparent spike in deaths caused due to COVID-19 has resulted in crematoriums and burial grounds in the state struggling to dispose of bodies as these facilities have started facing several issues, including that of space crunch.