Residents of Vashi demand a new burial ground in Navi MumbaiUpdated: Oct 16, 2020, 01:06 IST
With the Kopri burial ground in Sector 26, Vashi reaching its maximum capacity, the demand for a new burial ground in Navi Mumbai for the Muslim community has intensified.
With space available for just one more body to be buried, the Kopri burial ground will soon bear a board which saying it has exhausted its capacity. The trust that manages the ground has informed the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) that no more burial will be possible, especially those of Covid patients at this ground and demanded an alternate ground.
The Kopri burial ground is divided into two parts – a 1,000 sq m land that is kept only for non-Covid deaths and the 500 sq m land for Covid deaths.
Aniqullah Khan, trustee of Noorul Islam Trust that manages the burial ground, said, “After the first week of October, there was no space left for burials on the land meant for Covid burials. The 500 sqm land that has been kept exclusively for the burial of Covid patients, has buried 46 bodies.”
On an average, the burial ground in Kopri used to receive around seven bodies monthly before the pandemic. Since the pandemic struck, Covid bodies alone have been 46 from April.
“The other part of the burial ground that is for non-Covid patients is also filling up and we are afraid we will have to shut that too. We have been demanding a new patch of land from NMMC. Where would we ask the people to go?” Khan said.
Kopri burial ground is home for the deceased from Turbhe, Vashi and some parts of Sanpada as well.
Navi Mumbai has five burial grounds – in Airoli, Koparkhairane, Kopri, Nerul and Belapur – all nearing capacity.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we had demanded a new space for Muslim community to bury Covid patients alone. Since it has not been granted, each burial ground made provisions to dedicate a small patch from the existing ones to bury the Covid patients,” Saleem Shaikh, Chairman of Muslim Ekta Foundation said.
NMMC commissioner Abhijit Bangar said, “We have written to MIDC to provide us any land in their area that could be used as a burial ground. We are awaiting a response from them.”
Koparkhairane, which has around 2,600 sqm burial ground of which 500 sqm is dedicated for Covid deaths, has buried 12 Covid dead bodies, said Abbas Mullah from Anjuman Khairul Islam trust of Navi Mumbai. The 2,000 sqm Airoli burial ground has received 10 Covid bodies.
“We receive bodies from Rabale, Rabale MIDC and Ghansoli areas,” Kaleem Khan, a member of Airoli Masjeed-e-Aqsa Trust, said. Hidayat ul Islam trust of Nerul managing Nerul graveyard is also afraid of nearing a closure soon.
“Around 40 Covid death cases have come here. The non-Covid deaths have also increased. Around 25 of them arrive every month. We can have more 20 Covid death cases after which we are afraid we too might have to close the Covid burial. For the non-Covid deaths, we have to dig only around 4 ft deep pit but for Covid deaths, the pit has to be around 10 ft deep and eight ft wide. Moreover, we still have no clarity on when can the land with Covid patients buried be dug again. Normally, we dig the land again after two-and-a-half years. But in Covid death, some say it’s done after five years, some others say it’s after 10. We do not have any official communication,” Quresh Ahmed, president of the Nerul trust said.