Ramakant Achrekar's final journey was mired in controversy as the Maharashtra government did not accord a state funeral.
A Dronacharya award recipient in 1990, Achrekar was conferred the Padma Shri award in 2010.
According to the state rule, a state funeral is not mandatory for a Padma Shri receipient. But state housing minister, Prakash Mehta, who was present at the Shivaji Park crematorium on Thursday, regretted the decision of not according a state funeral and said there was 'lack of communication'.
"As a representative of the Maharashtra government, I am sorry (for whatever happened). This is a sad thing from our part and I will check what was the problem," Mehta said.
He also insisted that with state sports minister, Vinod Tawde, out of the city, a 'protocol minister' could not be present for the last rites.
"I got an intimation from the Mantralaya (Secretariat) half an hour ago and rushed here. I will find out what went wrong and why there was a lack of communication," Mehta said.
He promised to alert chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, about the whole issue. "I will speak to him," the minister said.
Former India captain and Padma Bhushan award winner, Ajit Wadekar, and actress, Sridevi, who was also a Padma Shri award winner, were given state funerals last year.
When contacted, sports minister Tawde's office said that the issue or whether or not Achrekar should get a state funeral falls under the protocol wing of the general administration department of the state government. "If an important personality dies in Maharashtra, then the protocol wing decides if they should get a state funeral. We are not consulted in the matter," said Tawde's spokesperson.
A senior official from the Chief Minister's office said they were not informed by the protocol department about the requirement for funeral with state honours.
Ram Shinde, state water conservation minister, who also holds the charge of protocol department, said he is out of Mumbai and insisted that a call on according someone a state funeral are taken by the CMO.
"Had I been intimated Wednesday night, I would have certainly taken up the issue and ensured Achrekar sir got a state funeral," Shinde said.
According to top government officials, when a public personality dies, the state government, depending upon the situation, decides whether to perform the funeral with state honours or not. This has nothing to do with whether the person received any civilian award.
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