Coronavirus outbreak: Chira Bazaar residents panic as BMC allows burial of COVID-19 fatalities near homes

Updated: Apr 08, 2020, 07:33 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

With Coronavirus cases rising in the city on a daily basis, locals are worried that the increasing burial of COVID-19 fatalities in the Bada Qabrastan might trigger an infection in the surrounding areas

Burial pits at Bada Qabrastan for COVID-19 patients near Marine Lines railway station. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Burial pits at Bada Qabrastan for COVID-19 patients near Marine Lines railway station. Pic/Suresh Karkera

The BMC's decision of allowing COVID-19 patients to be buried in large burial grounds within the city has not gone down well with residents of Chira Bazaar who live close to the Bada Qabrastan near Marine Lines railway station. Residents are claiming that over the past couple of days, at least 12 bodies from far off areas like Andheri, Mumbra have been brought to the Qabrastan which they fear can trigger an infection in the area.

The Qabrastan is surrounded by schools and junior colleges including St Sebastian Goan High School as well as residents of Halai Lohana Niwas. Yogesh Kanabar (52), the housing society's committee member said that over the past 3-4 days more than 12 bodies have been buried and causing panic among the 260 families in the society.

"If burial has to be done, the BMC's circular says that the ground shouldn't be near a residential area. But the ward officials keep saying that there are no residential buildings close to the burial ground even though we are less than 50 metres away," said Kanabar.

The St Sebastian Goan High School administration also expressed their concern about the growing number of bodies being buried in the Qabrastan. Father Leonard Noronha, trustee of the school said, "We have 2,000 students and there is just a wall between the school compound and the burial ground. People of all faiths are dying and people can't be asked to take their loved ones elsewhere. However, this is a pressing issue and the BMC should designate specific areas where COVID-19 patients can be buried," he said.

Shiv Sena leader, Pandurang Sakpal said, "We support the residents and I have spoken to the chief secretary Ajoy Mehta and MP Arvind Sawant. It is wrong that so many bodies are being brough," he said.

When contacted, deputy municipal commissioner Harshad Kale said, "As per the guidelines, the burial ground is big and adequately far from the residential area. We received a complaint and our officials inspected the Qabrastan in which we found a distance of 70-metres between the building and the burial site. The bodies are buried nine feet deep and adequate disinfection is done," he said.

"The trustees of the Qabrastan will to decide when to stop accepting more bodies," he further added.

Bodies buried in Bada Qabrastan in last few days

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