Hardly any respect for the departed souls here
Bodies being cremated in open pyres; families endure a painful wait
“MODERN crematorium” – Reads the entrance arch of the crematorium at Tiruvottriyur. But, inside, the bodies are still being burnt in open pyres and clearly there is nothing modern about it.
The reason is that even eight months after cyclone ‘Vardah’ damaged the chimney of this biogas crematorium, the city corporation is yet to repair it. So the NGO staff who are running the crematorium have returned to old ways of burning bodies.
But, the real problem is that the shed in the crematorium can at best accommodate three pyres at a time.
As people always want the cremation only during the fixed hours, they are forced to wait in queue. Even then they can pay their last rites to their loved ones amidst two other families in the same situation. Many times, to manage the crowd, the staff cremate the bodies outside the shed.
“All that we want is a respectable burial for my grandfather, but burning a person’s body outside the shed when three other bodies are kept in the shed does not seem paying a good sign of burial,” said M Karthick (name changed on request), who had come to cremate his grandfather’s body.
Karthick’s father in fact picked an argument with the staff at the crematorium as he felt, like many, his father deserved more respect during the last rites. “Anyone else too would feel the same. Either the electric crematorium should be opened or the shed for burning the pyre should be expanded.”
“The problem with open pyres is that it takes much time (to burn the bodies) and the relatives have to wait,” said the person in-charge of the crematorium.
The Tiruvottriyur biogas crematorium was built in 2011 with a 100-feet tall chimney to avoid smoke reaching the nearby Tiruvottriyur Kuppam.
On December, 12, 2016, when the city was hit by cyclone ‘Vardah’, the chimney was broken and now only 30 feet of the chimney is left.
In January, the staff of Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO), the NGO that is running the crematorium, stopped using the biogas crema-
It has been eight months now and the corporation has not set up the chimney. In spite of writing to officers, there has been still no response and they are delaying the proposed works
A crematorium staff
torium since the low height of the chimney resulted in dense smoke spreading in the nearby residential area. But the bodies were burnt in pyres in a nearby shed.
“It has been eight months now and the corporation has not repaired the chimney, said one of the staff at the crematorium. “In spite of writing to officers there is still no response and they are delaying.”
Residents of nearby areas are the ones who have to deal with smoke and smell that the pyres emit every day. “We wish they set up the chimney and start burning the bodies so that there would be less smoke around the area” said Kumari Muthu of Tiruvottriyur Kuppam.
When contacted, Corporation officials told Express that the needful will be done. “The chimney would be ready within a week and the biogas crematorium will start functioning soon,” said a zonal corporation officer in charge of the functioning of the crematorium.
The place where dead bodies are burnt in the open after the chimney of Thiruvottriyur Electric Crematorium got damaged |