When Sachin Mate of Kolhewadi visited a nearby octroi post to get a pass to carry his father’s body for cremation in a civic run facility, he found that the service at the octroi post had been stopped without prior notification.
The octroi posts became non-functional after the state government directed local civic bodies to stop giving out escort passes to goods vehicles getting into city limits.
However, this has created problems for citizens wanting to cremate the deceased at crematoriums in the city, as that requires a pass from the health department which gets issued at Sassoon hospital, Kamla Nehru hospital and all octroi posts.
“It is true that citizens are facing problems as they aren’t getting passes for cremation from octroi posts which have been closed down completely. However, it was not the responsibility of the octroi department to issue passes but was part of civic services provided to citizens along with official work of octroi collection,” said Vilas Kanade, joint municipal commissioner.
The PMC used to collect octroi at all the entry points of the city and the civic body finding it an apt place to issue civic passes for carrying the dead to the crematorium, had made the service available at octroi posts across the city for the convenience of public, he said. Kanade added, “The tax department cannot continue the service anymore as it cannot station staff at the posts with octroi getting abolished and cancellation of escort fee on goods vehicles.”
The responsibility of issuing passes for cremation is with the health department, so they have been informed that the tax department would not continue the service and they should themselves resolve the issue, Kanade said.
Assistant Health Officer and in-charge of birth and death certificate cell of civic health department, Sunil Andhale, said they were aware of the inconvenience to citizens.
“The health department cannot post its staff at the octroi posts and it is not possible to continue the service there. However, we have made the service available at select civic hospitals and citizens should get the passes from there,” he added.
RPI corporator Siddarth Dhende said, “The service of issuing passes for cremation at octroi posts existed from long back and citizens were well aware of it. However, there was no intimation on discontinuation of the service. Citizens are being made to run to select civic hospitals, to get passes, but many don’t know about these,” he added.