Mumbai: BMC's Failure To Settle Crematorium Bills Causes Smoke Woes For Mulund Residents

Mumbai: BMC's Failure To Settle Crematorium Bills Causes Smoke Woes For Mulund Residents

“The BMC seems to be leaving no opportunity for corruption, even in the cremation process. How is it possible that the largest and wealthiest municipal corporation cannot afford to pay its bills?”

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 12:59 AM IST
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Residents of T Ward in Mulund are grappling with respiratory problems as the volume of smoke emanating from the crematorium in the vicinity has surged. The situation has escalated due to the BMC’s failure to settle the electricity bill for two consecutive months, resulting in Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) disconnecting the power supply. Despite residents lodging complaints, no remedial action has been initiated thus far.

"How is it possible that the largest and wealthiest municipal corporation cannot afford to pay its bills?”

Social activist Goldie Sharma, said, “The BMC seems to be leaving no opportunity for corruption, even in the cremation process. How is it possible that the largest and wealthiest municipal corporation cannot afford to pay its bills?”

Crematorium closed since February 7

Sharma’s remarks come amidst the closure of the machine since February 7. Describing his meeting with the ward officer, Sharma recalls being met with a vague response, with the officer dubbing the matter as “sensitive” without further comment.

Upon reaching out to medical officer of health (MOH) of T ward Kashinath Jadhav, Sharma was informed that the issue falls outside his jurisdiction and is the responsibility of another department. Investigating further, Sharma discovered that the pending electricity bill amounts to Rs26,520. Condemning the irresponsibility of Jadhav, Sharma notes that despite numerous complaints, no action has been taken by the ward authorities.

"Smoke directly enters our homes"

Ramesh Panchal, a resident living adjacent to the crematorium, expressed, “This has been a perennial problem, but we used to find some solace because of this chimney. But now, with this machine being shut down, smoke directly enters our homes. After pressure from all sides, the machine was installed, and funded by the authorities. Now, for several days, its maintenance seems neglected. Smoke engulfs the entire area, and people are distressed. Adjacent to the crematorium, there are slums and buildings, everyone feels suffocated.”

“Smoke enters homes on a large scale, and due to this situation, we were reminded of the COVID era. When there were more coronavirus cases, such troubles occurred, and people were afraid. The Mulund Citizens' Forum raises concerns, but the responsibility of paying the bills lies with the BMC, and they delayed payment for two months, causing us this trouble. It’s not just for two months, sometimes it remains shut for quite some time, staff says service is not available, they mention technical problems. I reside adjacent to the crematorium. After burning a dead body, there is intense smoke. Many suffer due to this,” Panchal said.

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