Mumbai News: Sewage Flows Over Graves At St. Peter’s Cemetery In Worli

Mumbai News: Sewage Flows Over Graves At St. Peter’s Cemetery In Worli

The cemetery’s administrators said they have been writing to the ward office for the past one year.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Friday, June 14, 2024, 11:10 PM IST
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Mumbai News: Sewage Flows Over Graves At St. Peter’s Cemetery In Worli | FPJ

Images of pools of sewage on graves at the St. Peter’s cemetery in Worli have distressed both mourners and priests. One of the largest in the city, the cemetery is used by the members of Roman Catholic churches in the area. However, it has been grappling with waste flowing in from a damaged underground sewage line along the boundary for over a year. Complaints with the G-South municipal ward office have remained unanswered.

On Friday, when Father Calistus Fernandes from Our Lady of Victories Church, Mahim, visited the graveyard for a funeral service, he was shocked at the state of the graves in one section of the burial ground. “The area was stinking. It is shameful,” said Fernandes.

The cemetery on E Moses Road, established in 1911, has around 8,000 permanent and temporary graves. The affected area has temporary graves that are periodically reused. “The bodies are exhumed after a certain period to allow fresh burials. If the graves are flooded with sewage it will be impossible to exhume the remains,” Fernandes added.

The cemetery’s administrators said they have been writing to the ward office for the past one year. In October 2023, they reminded the BMC that people visiting the graves of their kin on All Souls Day on November 2 will be hurt at the sight.

The cemetery’s honorary administrator Theo Figueiredo said, “The sewage drain was probably damaged during the underground railway construction. A factory outside the cemetery had raised the height of its compound and covered a gutter during the work. That is causing the sewage to flow into the cemetery.”

Despite numerous complaints, community groups said that the local municipal office has been neglecting the problem. “This situation is not only a matter of health and sanitation but also amounts to an intentional act of desecration of graves, which is a penal offence under the Indian Penal Code,” said advocate Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation, which has written to the city and state administration.

An official from the G-South municipal ward, which has jurisdiction over the area, said that their staff had visited the cemetery in response to the complaints. “We will check again,” the official added.

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