The Mang­nokka Hena ceme­tery gets a face-lift

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS - By K.L. Richard Wal­ter Per­era

The Mang­nokka Hena ceme­tery at Periya­mulla in Ne­gombo is main­tained by the Ne­gombo Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil. It is the largest ceme­tery in the area and is a com­mon burial grounds for per­sons of all re­li­gions.

At his time of the year (November) Chris­tians flock to this ceme­tery as it is a month set apart to pay re­spects to de­parted souls.

This year au­thor­i­ties have main­tained the ceme­tery well. Un­like in the past, the ceme­tery looks clean and well kept. Large trees line paths be­tween graves and pro­vid­ing shade to mourn­ers in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing them with a space away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of ev­ery­day life.

A ceme­tery- worker who did not want to be iden­ti­fied said vis­i­tors to the ceme­tery of­ten de­spoil the sur­round­ings. He added that some ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties were not avail­able, as for ex­am­ple no seat­ing fa­cil­i­ties were avail­able to rel­a­tives who ar­rive to make fu­neral ar­range­ments.

He added staff are at pains not to ex­ploit griev­ing fam­i­lies who come to fi­nalise ar­range­ments. He men­tioned an oc­cas­sion when a par­tic­u­larly poor fam­ily who were in a state of de­pres­sion had left be­hind a purse con­tain­ing Rs. 5,000/-. We re­turned it im­me­di­ately he said.

The worker men­tioned that the Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sioner of the Ne­gombo Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil Ms. N.B.R.V. Fer­nando, was par­tic­u­larly help­ful.

Ms. Fer­nando told the Sun­day Times ‘I am ac­tu­ally happy about the me­dia. It is their duty to raise is­sues the pub­lic face.We are taking all the mea­sures to im­prove th­ese pub­lic ser­vices’.

N.M.T.B. Wick­re­mati­laka the cre­ma­to­rium of­fi­cer said he has to work sin­gle-handed. He men­tioned he has to make do with­out with­out a pro­tec­tive suitor tinted glasses.

He added it was prob­lem­atic work­ing sin­gle-handed es­pe­cially when there were more than one body which needed to be at­tended to as it took around two-and-ahalf hours for acorpse to be fully cre­mated.

This led to de­lays and in­con­ve­nience to the pub­lic he added.

Mr. Wick­re­mati­laka said ad­di­tional staff were nec­es­sary if they were to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively.

The cre­ma­to­rium is op­er­ated by a sin­gle in­di­vid­ual

Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sioner Ms Fer­nando

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