Cancel MoU if you want to; no lapse on our part: Nigambodh Ghat to North MCD

New Delhi: The tussle between the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Nigambodh Ghat management over the timely disposal of COVID-19 dead bodies turned bitter on Saturday with the latter now having told the civic body that it can go ahead and cancel the MoU between them if it wanted to do so, in reply to a show-cause notice issued by the Corporation alleging non-cooperation and unnecessary harassment on the crematorium's part.

The North MCD had show-caused the Nigambodh Ghat management over the alleged harassment of those bringing in the bodies of COVID-19 infected people.

The management, in a written reply to the corporation, has said that it has been serving the people to the best of their capability and with the utmost effort but if the civic body felt the move to be justified, then they could go ahead with the same by canceling the service. "Despite providing services by our organization, we received notice to cancel the MoU. If this is the result of our service then you (corporation) are independent to take a decision. The civic body is being requested to inform a little earlier before taking the decision, so the management can inform its staff in this regard," the letter said.

Contending that none of their staff members had ever turned anyone away from the crematorium, the Nigambodh Ghat management also asked the North MCD to explain specifically when any such incident had purportedly occurred. "They never returned any one's body or refused to cremate. Even on May 26, they cremated 12 bodies at the CNG crematorium," the management's letter said.

Significantly, a letter written by the MCD's public health department had said that several deaths are occurring due to COVID-19 and the disposal of bodies in the CNG crematorium was made mandatory but it has come to notice through the public health inspector on duty that there is "extreme non-cooperation" on the Ghat's part. "And whereas the dignified disposal is the right of the body of the persons dying of COVID–19, complaints have been received regarding refusal or returning of the body without cremation at Nigambodh Ghat cremation ground. It has also been observed that staff was not cooperating in the cremation of such bodies," The corporation's public health department had alleged.

"You are hereby directed to give reasons why your MoU between North MCD and Badi Panchayat Vaish Bisa Agarwal (NGO) should not be cancelled for non-cooperation and unnecessary harassment of attendants of COVID-19 deceased persons," the MCD letter to the Ghat's management said.

It may be noted that controversy had erupted over bodies piling up at mortuaries due to a delay in disposing of bodies at the Nigambodh Ghat. Opposition parties had alleged that the state government was hiding actual data of Corona deaths as hospitals were flooded with bodies at the time. Opposition councilors in the BJP-ruled North Corporation had, however, claimed that it was the civic body's apathy that had caused an unprecedented delay in disposing of the bodies.

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