Steep increase in cremations irks Mumbaikars

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Mumbai, June 22 (IANS) Several residents of the posh Shivaji Park area in Dadar here on Monday staged a silent protest and a vociferous one online against the cremation of a large number of bodies of Covid-19 victims and others at the local crematorium.
Many residents, carrying placards and wearing masks, staged a quiet protest, contending how the extraordinarily large number of cremations was affecting their health.
On an average, around one body is cremated every hour at this crematorium, emanating thick black smoke and stench which was becoming difficult to tolerate now, said one protestor.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mumbai unit targeted the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“Thackeray sarkar says no politics over Covid-19 issue. But now due to their carelessness, citizens have to come on road and protest,” said city party chief M. P. Lodha in a tweet.
Incidentally, Shivaji Park with prominent citizens living there is located in G-North Ward of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation that spans Dadar, Dharavi and Mahim areas of south-central Mumbai.
It also has two of the biggest hospitals – the KEM Hospital and Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital – both having among the biggest Covid-19 treatment facilities, besides several big and small private hospitals.
Depending on the origins of the patients, a majority of the Covid-19 bodies, as well as others, are taken for the last rites at the Shivaji Park crematorium.
Besides this, there have been voices of protests from other non-electric crematoria in different parts of Mumbai as the numbers of cremations have gone up drastically, compared to the non-pandemic times before March.
The Opposition has also raised the issue of how so many deaths result in long queues outside crematoria and cemeteries, after which the civic authorities announced a ‘token number’ system to avoid huge delays.