Mumbai will soon get three crematoria for animals, with a proposal set to be presented to the BMC standing committee this week. One of these crematoria will be in Mahalaxmi, while the others are proposed to be in Malad and Deonar.
According to pet owners, it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to bury or cremate animals with many having to cough up large sums for private graveyards or crematoria. The only animal crematorium facility in the city is a small area inside the SPCA Hospital in Parel, which shuts at 5 pm.
“Many are even forced to dump the carcasses of their pets in garbage dumps, which are then cleared by BMC workers after a day or two. With three dedicated crematoriums for animals it will be a great relief for animal lovers and pet owners,” said Vaishali Mahadevan, animal activist and a resident of Khar.
“All three crematoria / incinerators will be CNG-based and environmental friendly. The proposal was put forth keeping in mind problems and dilemma faced by pet owners and animal lovers. The idea is to provide the facility across the city and suburbs,” said Dr Yogesh Shetye, general manager of Deonar abattoir.
The facilities will be set up on a public private partnership (PPP) model. The estimated cost for the crematoria is Rs 2 crore each. The BMC will bear the cost of maintenance as well as cost of the required CNG/fuel. However, an organization selected under a PPP project will hire and manage manpower at these crematoria.
Animal activists welcomed the move, but raised doubts on the PPP model. “This was a long pending need for the city. I am not sure if three crematoria will suffice for the entire city, but something is better than nothing. Dumped animal carcasses posed health hazards too. Besides if the civic body is planning to give it to a private organization, it will need to get a monitoring agency in place to keep a check on malpractices,” said Pawan Sharma, founder of Resquink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).
As per the 2012 animal census, there are around 33,572 dogs across the city. An animal census conducted by the BMC in 2014 revealed that there are nearly 95,172 stray dogs in the city of which 61,239 have undergone sterilization under the civic body’s ‘animal birth control programme’.