Free wood ‘bought' from Mumbai crematorium to celebrate Holika

Mumbai exclusive

In the attached video clip, recorded by a Mumbai corporator who shall remain unnamed, this husband-wife contractors of a Girgaum crematorium are seen selling wood meant for cremating the dead.

It is the Jagannath Shankarseth Samshanbhoomi in Chandanwadi, Girgaum.

And, to those who want the wood to celebrate Holika, the burning down of evil on the eve of Holi.

This is a crematorium where the supply of wood is contracted out by the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC). The civic administration then pays for the wood used in cremations. The wood supplied is certainly not to be sold arbitrarily, or to anybody.

Seen in the video – a full transcript has been provided – a man is recorded asking for 250 kgs of wood. The crematorium contractor quotes Rs 800 for 100 kgs, even jokes that he gives a good rate while his 'head office' wife doesn't reduce even one rupee.

The timing of the deal is suggestive that it is being done surreptitiously. The customer is asked to come around 1 am at night, park his vehicle at the 'back gate' where the wood would be loaded.

As is evident from the video, this sale is not one-off. There were buyers before this man, suggesting that this corruption too is rampant.

BMC Chief Health Officer Arun Bamne said the civic administration pays for the wood required to cremate each body. "We check for each document including death certificates and pay the contractor of the crematorium based on the dead bodies cremated per month," he said.

Rahul Shewale, Standing Committee chairman and a Shiv Sena corporator, said: "We have directed the administration to investigate the contractor who was responsible for giving away the wood meant to be used in the crematorium. Although BMC has not paid for the wood yet, the contractor will certainly be penalised if he was involved in such a malpractice," said

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