Mumbai, May 5: The second wave of covid-19 had noticed shortage of beds, oxygens and remdivisir injections across the state. However, trustees from Wadala and Chembur cemetery claimed that a third wave would result in shortage of graves in the city. Both the trustees have been demanding for a new plot of land.
The Sunni Muslim wadala kabrastan trust had put up banners outside the cemetery alerting locals that its may close anytime. The banner explains the present situation of the cemetery having 9 plots comprising 1132 graves in which 128 graves are reserved for childrens. After the pandemic two plots i.e 165 graves reserved for covid dead bodies. So at the end there are around 800 graves for normal bodies. A recent survey checking the registered dead bodies of the last one year revealed a total of 1000 dead bodies coming in. "We just have 800 graves to accommodate it. As per BMC a dead body takes 18 months to decompose. How will we follow the recycling process? With time we need a new plot for a population that is rising," said Istiyag Shaikh, Secretary of Sunni Muslim Wadala Kabrastan trust. Shaikh had also submitted letters to 10 corporators and two MLA's demanding the need for a new plot of land.
After the news spread on Tuesday a team of officials from F-north ward including health officials, maintenance department staff and officials visited the cemetery. They were accompanied by Sufiyan Vanu, Congress Corporator of ward number 179. He said, "Last year when most cemeteries had closed their doors. Wadala cemetery accepted dead bodies from different areas.This may be one of the reasons for shortage of graves inside. It doesn't mean we will close the cemetery. We are coming up with solutions. On Tuesday we carried out a survey and found enough space. However, with the rising population the need for a new cemetary can't be neglected. As per the new plan a reserve plot of 2 acres is allocated in the Antophill area. The plot is encroached by slums. We have been fighting to get the plot with continuous followup," he added.
Dr. Nilesh Palve, Medical health officer, F-North ward who was present in the survey said, "During the survey we found every plot has a space near the corners, where stones were thrown over. If we clean and maintain it properly then more than 50 graves can be prepared. We are trying to make arrangements in every possible way."
Sumit Bandre, Death Register Karkun from F-North claims till date none of the dead bodies were sent to other graveyards. said,"If the flow of dead bodies keeps increasing it may either have to be diverted or a new plot should be arranged. At present among the 165 graves for covid dead bodies, 125 are already occupied. Following the government rule the grave with covid bodies should not be dug for five years. Shortage is an issue," he added.
Chembur Cemetery is already facing the shortage of space. Yusuf Patel, secretary Jamat-E-Muslimin Muslim Cemetary claims the chembur cemetary is small with 291 graves to take population of around 2 lakhs. "After the pandemic started a year ago we have stopped accepting covid dead bodies. We first asked for the report and if positive we diverted them to Bada qabrastan, ready road (nariyalwadi) or deonar and shivaji nagar. Seeing the flow, from last one year we are not accepting normal dead bodies from Chembur west vicinity. Taking such steps had helped us to follow the BMC protocol of digging any grave after 18 months, the period it takes to decompose. After taking all this step from stopping to diverting we manage to follow the 18 months recycle process," added Patel.
Patel who also heading the Chembur South Muslim Jamat an committee fighting for allotment of land for new cemetary said, "After our demands the authorities have showed us a reserve plot in Mahul. They have also carried an survey for it. Seeing the present pandemic situation and keeping in mind the third wave. The authorities should take quick decision and complete the procedure of new cemetery in Mahul. It may be useful in the coming days. There we could take dead bodies from across the city as it would be big enough,"added Patel.