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Mumbai: Where even the dead are given the runaround

Updated on: 24 June,2024 06:50 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prasun Choudhari |

With conventional crematorium in Babhai shut, Borivli electric one lacks signboards and lights

Mumbai: Where even the dead are given the runaround

The Vazira electric crematorium has no signboards. Pic/Nimesh Dave

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Mumbai: Where even the dead are given the runaround

The electric crematorium at Vazira in Borivli has no signboards leading to its location, a missing main entrance board and lack of lighting, which have been causing major hassles to the families of the deceased. To make matters worse, the main gate leading to the crematorium is closed in the evening and vehicles are parked at the spot, blocking the entrance.

Laxman Vaity, a Vazira Koliwada resident told mid-day, “Every other day we see families driving around the area to locate the crematorium. A few days back, we saw an ambulance unloading a body at the gate of the crematorium but they could not enter as there was a vehicle parked outside the gate. There was no way for the ambulance or the family members of the deceased to enter.”

There are no signboards along the road leading to Vazira electric crematorium. Pis/Nimesh DaveThere are no signboards along the road leading to Vazira electric crematorium. Pis/Nimesh Dave

A local resident, requesting anonymity, said, “The other day, I was seated inside a cafe opposite the crematorium. A family was seen driving around trying to locate it. After two rounds, one of them came near the cafe asking for its location. Even the locals seated outside the cafe weren’t aware of it. Luckily, I was around and guided them to the entrance.”

He added, “There are many ongoing redevelopment projects in the locality. My question is very clear... is the BMC deliberately not installing a board at the entrance of the crematorium as it will hamper the real estate rates in the area? Generally, there is a signboard at the entrance of any government building or office but this crematorium has none.”

Another resident alleged that when he enquired about the missing signboards and entrance board, the contractors and management told him that even they were fed up with asking the ward office to install them.

Recalling the ordeal, he said, “My father passed away a few months back. I live in Chikuwadi and the nearest known crematorium is at Babhai, which has been shut for maintenance for almost eight months now. At the time, I wasn’t aware of it being shut and we found out after reaching there. We were told there is an electric crematorium nearby. The death registration officer told us the route and we left. We searched for almost 20 minutes but could not locate it. Finally, we decided to go to the crematorium at Kandivli.”

According to the man, they had passed by the electric crematorium twice but could not locate it due to signboards and the main entrance board not being installed.

Gopal Shetty, former member of Parliament from the Mumbai North Parliamentary constituency, told mid-day, “I am aware that the traditional crematorium at Babhai is closed for maintenance and hence the electric crematorium is the only option in the locality. But I was not aware of this signboard issue or that vehicles are being parked, blocking the entrance. I will personally look into the matter and make sure that the issue is resolved.”

Sandhya Nandedkar, assistant municipal commissioner, R Central ward, told mid-day, “I was unaware of the missing signboards and entrance board. Since it has been brought to my notice, I will look into the matter and install the required signboards as soon as possible.”

No. of months other facility in area has been shut

‘Reopen Bahbai crematorium’

Residents of the small Vazira Koliwada village in Borivli which is located close to both the crematoriums have written to the ward office asking them to reopen the Bahbai traditional crematorium at the earliest as the electric method is not accepted by many locals.

Bahbai traditional crematorium is currently shut for maintenanceBahbai traditional crematorium is currently shut for maintenance

The letter, received by the assistant commissioner of R Central ward on December 4, 2023, reads: “The Hindu Crematorium at Babhai was closed down for maintenance abruptly without prior intimation. As an alternative, we are being forced to use the electric crematorium. Unfortunately, the last rites cannot be performed at the electric crematorium according to our tradition. Our locality is clearly against using the electric crematorium. Before the issue turns into a broader one, we urge the ward office to reopen the traditional crematorium and carry out the repair work in phases.”

Sandhya Nandedkar, AMC, R Central ward, told mid-day, “The repair work is not initiated by the ward office and comes under the Health and Infrastructure Cell (HIC). We are continuously following up with them to know about the work progress.”

Meanwhile, Ravindra Ghule, deputy chief engineer, HIC, told mid-day, “The repair work of crematoriums is being handed over to the building maintenance (BM) department. Our department is only handling the repair works of crematoriums undertaken before the handover.”

When mid-day contacted Yatin Dalvi, chief engineer, BM department, he said he was on leave and currently out of town. Sanjaykumar Pandav, deputy chief engineer (suburbs), BM department, guided this reporter to Sinkar, another official of the BM department who did not respond to calls and text messages till the time of going to press.

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

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