This cremation ground in Mira Road is not likely to give the departed eternal rest. The plot, where last rites of individuals are conducted in full ceremony while the sun is still out, doubles up as a parking lot for auto drivers and cars during night. As creepy as many may find this, but the crematorium in Penkarpada, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), is allegedly being used by the son of a local corporator as a parking lot after 10 pm. Auto drivers are charged Rs 250 a month while car drivers pay Rs 300 in exchange for parking facility, said sources.
A bad lot
After visiting the ground for three days in a row, MiD DAY observed that while funeral rituals continued to be performed in full swing during daytime, the very same land moonlighted as a parking lot at night. The ground has a capacity to hold 40 vehicles, and every night, at least 25-30 cars and auto rickshaws find rest here.
That the cremation ground is being used for parking is common knowledge, locals will attest to it. And while the dead may not talk, those working at the ground are also maintaining a stiff silence. They refused to give this reporter the name of the politician, in fear of losing their jobs.
Sources said the ground was being used for this business activity for the past many months. But police and civic authorities claim complete oblivion of the commerce, which flies in the face of common decency and regard of the dead, even for a landless, space-famished, cramped city like ours. “The cremation ground first belonged to the gram panchayat and was later handed over to the MBMC. Though there are security personnel at the ground, they tend to turn a blind eye to what is going on in the cover of night,” said the source.
Senior police inspector of the Thane (rural) traffic police, Chandrakant Gundage, said, “We have not received any complaints from the MBMC, and without that we cannot take any action. However, if we get an official complaint from the civic body, we will conduct investigations to determine if vehicles are being parked there illegally or not.” MBMC Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “I will conduct an inquiry in this matter and take any required action if this turns out to be true. I have not received any complaints so far and was unaware of anything like this taking place.”
Monthly parking rate for auto rickshaws
Monthly parking rate for cars