While this may seem like an illustration of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) nonpartisan approach, it’s certainly not creditable. On February 6, MiD DAY had reported (‘Crematorium records deaths in birth registers’) how city crematoriums are using birth registers, which have been provided to them by local ward offices in the absence of adequate notebooks, for cataloguing deaths.
One of the latest casualties of this absurd practice is Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray, who passed away on November 17 last year, and was accorded a state funeral the next day. MiD DAY has discovered that the late politico’s death too was recorded in a birth register at Shivaji Park crematorium.
Workers at the crematoriums say they have not received death logs for the last few years. The notebooks provided to them have columns to record date, time and place of birth, apart from name of the child. So, crematorium employees tweak these headers to document date, time and place of death (hospital or home), and name of the deceased.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator from Dadar Sandeep Deshpande confirmed this news. “BMC is playing with people’s emotions. This will be a problem if someone needs that record as evidence in court,” he said, and also demanded that the administration act immediately on the issue and provide death registers to all crematoriums.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Vinod Shelar had pointed out the procedure after attending the last rites of Sion resident Sandeep Deshpande. He also wrote to the municipal commissioner. Mayor Sunil Prabhu has termed this a grave matter. “We will take up the issue of making stocks of death registers available during Monday’s meeting with the administration.” said Ramakant Bane, assistant secretary of Municipal Mazdoor Union.