Anantapur : Burial Grounds Grapple With Increasing Influx

A Christian burial ground in Anantapur
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A Christian burial ground in Anantapur

Highlights

  • Space is running out in graveyards, crematoriums struggle with rising number of bodies that arrive for funerals in Anantapur in view of coronavirus
  • People are demanding that civic body should take steps towards setting up of electric crematorium
  • Apart from this problem, anti-social elements of digging the graves to steal ornaments from the buried bodies and leaving them open which is leading to foul smell emanating from them

Anantapur : The precarious conditions at the all religion burial grounds and crematoriums are getting worse as Covid deaths mount by day . The burial grounds are facing two problems, one they are running out of space and the other, anti-social elements are digging graves to find gold ornaments left on the dead bodies. This is for making easy money from the gold abandoned on the bodies. In the process, tombs are being desecrated and disturbed resulting in foul smell emanating from the damaged tombs.

Anantapur Hindu Smashana Vatika cemetery is struggling to find space to bury people dying of Covid-19. All the burial grounds, Hindu Smashana Vatika, Khabar and Christian cemetery were established 50 years back. There is no electric crematorium. Brahmins and Vysyas have a separate crematorium.

Anantapur crematoriums and burial grounds are working overtime to cope with the surging number of deaths from the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier, 5 to 8 bodies use to come in a week and now around 8 to 10 bodies are coming daily. There would be at least 3 to 4 bodies in the same pit.

Moreover, miscreants are digging the pits for precious ornaments and leaving the bodies without burying. Foul smell is coming in most of the graveyards. All the graveyards are surrounded by houses. Several encroachers have built permanent buildings. All the unauthorised constructions got house and door numbers, and property tax identification number.

Anantapur Municipal Corporation has not taken any action to vacate these lands. Crematoriums and burial grounds shrank and death toll rose. People say electric crematorium is the need of the hour. As there is great demand burial grounds are working 24 hours. Timing slots are given to the relatives, families and relatives have to wait 2 to 3 hours to cremate the bodies.

In Bramhin and Vysya grave yard bodies are piling up and smoke from continuously burning flesh is creating another health risk to locals. Several unclaimed bodies are reaching burial grounds in big number. Workers at Khabar located in drivers' colony said that they have buried more than 150 bodies in May. "We can't afford to have long queues of people at the crematorium, as that again increases the risk of spreading infection," said Ganganna, a worker who digs pit at the burial grounds.

The situation is likely to worsen as hospitals across the city are filled to the capacity. Anantapur town with about three lakh population needs an electric crematorium to cope with the situation. Residents demand that the municipal corporation identify places and start eco-friendly crematoriums.

"We have started Anantha Dehadatala Samstha in 2010. This is body, organ donors association. As many as 126 people have given consent to donate their bodies. Due to Covid we are unable to donate bodies to Govt hospitals and more over the association is inactive," stated president B V Radhakrishna Murthy and secretary Dr M Suresh Babu.

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