Maharashtra government, on Thursday, told the Bombay High Court bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Girish Kulkarni that the state was fortunate enough to not have witnessed a single dead body of COVID- victim awaiting a decent cremation for want of space. The state said there was no incident of dead bodies being thrown away in rivers, just as it happened in "some" states.
The bench having considered the submission, ordered the state government to consider installing more gas and electricity furnaces in crematoriums across the state. It also asked the authorities to install pollution control devices to bring down the pollution levels in cities.
On Friday, when the matter was called out for hearing, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state said that the COVID-19 situation is under control in Maharashtra.
"Fortunately, we haven't seen instances of dead bodies awaiting cremation for want of space," the AG said, adding, "In fact we are fortunate that our state have reported any incident of dead bodies thrown into rivers like it happened in some states where dead bodies were dumped in Ganga."
At this, Justice Sayed said, "Mr. AG we are only on burial of bodies. All bodies must get a decent burial or cremation."
"We have heard about these issues in other states. But the problem is something else, a general policy decision is required," the judge added.
Justice Kulkarni further pointed out that the problem is the traditional method that is being used.
"We are still using the traditional method, which is creating huge pollution since most of the crematoriums are in the heart of the city," Justice Kulkarni said.
"The state must apply its mind on this issue and consider having more electricity or gas crematoriums are installed. Consider having more electric or gas furnaces," Justice Kulkarni added.
The bench further said that this being a "sensitive" issue, the authorities need to work on this.
"There are so many instances of crematoriums not working properly. In most of the crematoriums the fumes don't go into the chimneys installed," the judge pointed out.
"We need to have a proper pollution control device installed at all crematoriums to bring down the pollution levels," the judge added.
The bench has adjourned the matter for hearing till June 2.