COVID:NGT directs Centre to look into plea seeking to frame policy for cremation of unclaimed bodies

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New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre to look into a plea seeking to frame a policy for cremation of the unclaimed dead bodies of COVID-19 victims exclusively in gas crematoriums.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said the issue raised primarily concerns action by the administration, having regard to the fact situation and all relevant circumstances at a particular place. “The applicant has impleaded MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest), States of Punjab and Haryana through their Chief Secretaries as parties. However, having regard to the nature of the issue, the same issue can be looked into by all the concerned authorities of all the States/UTs in the country.

“Accordingly, without expressing any opinion on the issue, we consider it appropriate to dispose of this application with a direction that a copy of this order be forwarded to the MoEF, CPCB, Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs, State PCBs/PCCs and Districts Magistrates of all the States/UTs by e-mail for such consideration as may be found necessary,” the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by H C Arora seeking a direction to frame a policy for cremation of the unclaimed dead bodies, exclusively in gas crematoriums.

The plea also seeks to provide some incentive, like free commercial gas cylinder, for motivating people in other cases to cremate the dead bodies of their dear and near ones in the LPG Crematoria. The case set out in this application is that in the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic, there are large scale deaths and there are unclaimed dead bodies requiring proper cremation, in the interest of protecting the environment.

The Centre had earlier asked states along the Ganga to ensure strict vigilance and check future incidences of people dumping bodies in Ganga and its tributaries after 71 corpses were fished out of the river body in Bihar.

In a letter to the District Ganga Committees which are chaired by district magistrates/ collectors, the National Mission for Clean Ganga also asked the authorities to dispose of unidentified dead bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims in accordance with safety protocols. PTI PKS RKS RKS