In the backdrop of over 7,219 deaths in the city since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and its crematoria running at stretched capacity since, the Worli crematorium, spread over 9 acres, is set to be redeveloped and modernised.
The ground-breaking ceremony of the Antim Prasthan located at Dr E Moses Road in Worli was performed on July 27, adhering to social distancing norms.
The Antim Prasthan project launched by the Hiralal Parekh Parivar Charity Trust will be undertaken at a cost of Rs 40 crore, half of which the trust has already generated through CSR donations from the Tata Group, Mahindra Group, Kotak Group, NOCIL and others.
Dr Ramnik Parekh, founding trustee, said, “We were troubled by the derelict conditions of many of the city’s crematoria and so in 2018, the Trust decided to take action and make an example with the Worli crematorium. This is a landmark project as it will not only be the largest crematorium in Mumbai, but also the only non-denominational facility offering its services free of cost to all.”
Dr Bharat Parekh, trustee, Hiralal Parekh Parivar Charity Trust, said that the eight cremation pavilions in the redeveloped crematorium in Worli will have three traditional wood pyres, two closed wood pyres that require one-tenth the amount of wood as compared to open pyres and three gas furnaces. At present the crematorium has two electrical furnaces.
Besides the 49 BMC-run crematoria, Mumbai also has 20 crematoria run by private organisations. The Antim Prasthan project for the redevelopment and modernisation of the Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Worli Smashan Bhumi or Worli Crematorium will be designed by leading architect Rahul Mehrotra.
The project will be executed on the same 9 acre plot of land that the crematorium presently occupies.
The redeveloped crematorium will offer eight enclosed pavilions spread over a carpet area of 80,000 sq ft allowing families to pay their last respects in complete privacy and with dignity.
The facility will also include four prayer halls, a large common waiting lounge and administration facilities, with space for storage, amenities and support services, including a large car park and ease of movement for the physically challenged.
Dr Bharat Parekh said that according to the MoU between the Trust and the BMC, the Trust will maintain the crematorium for the first five years.
The redevelopment process that was expected to start in February but was delayed on account of the pandemic is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, he added.
A BMC official said, “The redevelopment work has begun slowly. Enough care is being taken to ensure that the work does not cause any inconvenience to the grieving families coming to the crematorium for last rites.”
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