Pune: In view of movement restrictions due to the lockdown, a Pune-based start-up, which makes available services of priests and other material required for a prayer ceremony, is now planning to roll out a holistic funeral management service through its online platform. As part of its 'Moksha Seva' service, the company aims to provide services like helping a family get the death certificate of the deceased, assembling a bier, transporting the body to the preferred crematorium, obtaining crematorium pass, providing priest and material required for the last rites. The company 'Guruji on Demand' also plans to assist bereaved families in the rituals to be performed after the last rites, Pranav Chaware, one of the firm's partners, told PTI, adding they plan to start the service by this month-end. "Due to the coronavirus pandemic, gatherings of relatives/neighbors are not allowed even during the funeral of a non-COVID victim," he noted. In such a situation, the nuclear families, which are already in grief, at times find it difficult to arrange the necessary things required for the last rites. "It is being observed that if someone dies in a family, the members some times have to run from pillar to post for the funeral preparations and they find it difficult to handle the situation," Chaware said. "The objective behind this service is to provide a "one-stop solution" to the families and give them support in their hard times and help them perform the last rites in a hassle-free manner," he said. "All these services, like obtaining the death certificate, preparing the bier, arranging persons to carry the bier on their shoulders, transporting the body to the crematorium, providing gurujis with required items for last rites, post last rite rituals and catering services, will be started from June end," he said. Currently, the firm has 650 priests enrolled with it in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas of Maharashtra, and people can book their services through the company's dedicated mobile app or its website. "If a person wants services of a priest for any ritual at his home, he/she can simply go to our portal, and the priest living within five km radius of the person's house will be made available," he informed. "With social distancing the need of the hour, priests even perform pooja through video conferencing," Chaware said. "Even if a priest's physical presence is required to perform a ritual, all precautionary measures are taken while deputing him to visit the customer's place," he said. The business of availing services of priests was so far based on the "word of mouth publicity" and was under the unorganized sector, Chaware pointed out. "But with the use of technology, it has turned into a service industry and generating revenue for the state in terms of GST also," he said.
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