Visakhapatnam: Electric crematorium, amenities to dot Gnanapuram burial ground

A model of the innovative funeral platform to be developed at the Hindu burial ground, Gnanapuram in Visakhapatnam
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A model of the innovative funeral platform to be developed at the Hindu burial ground, Gnanapuram in Visakhapatnam

Highlights

The flickering flames of the burning pyres at one of the oldest burial grounds at Gnanapuram in Visakhapatnam district will not be visible from the road any longer as the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) intends to develop the facility with a high-rise compound wall along with a host of amenities at a cost of Rs 1.95 crore.

Visakhapatnam: The flickering flames of the burning pyres at one of the oldest burial grounds at Gnanapuram in Visakhapatnam district will not be visible from the road any longer as the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) intends to develop the facility with a high-rise compound wall along with a host of amenities at a cost of Rs 1.95 crore.

The decades old Hindu burial ground is the place where many prefer to get the last rites performed for their dear and near ones.

Though there is a compound wall in the premises, the gory sight of the bodies burning is quite visible from the main road where the crematorium is located. When the Covid-19 pandemic reached its peak, the flames of the pyre had barely died down. "Back then, the facility used to receive 140 to 160 bodies to get cremated a day. Though the present electric crematorium has the capacity to cremate 20 bodies a day, it was operated round-the-clock and beyond its capacity then. It was the most critical period," explains K Venugopala Rao, Superintendent of Engineer (GVMC).

As electric crematorium offers a quicker and pollution-free alternative compared to the traditional cremation using firewood that takes minimum three to four hours for the funeral flames to get doused and give way for another, the GVMC plans to set up a new electric crematorium building at an estimated cost of Rs 95 lakh. This apart, there are 11 open funeral platforms in the premises. Some of them will be replaced with a renovated model. "Three of the platforms will be built with curvature and concave architectural structure so that the burning of the pyre is not visible from any angle. This will be developed in line with the cremation ground at Balkampet, Hyderabad. The idea is to bring in the best practices as envisaged by Municipal Commissioner G Srijana and supported by Mayor G Hari Venkata Kumari," Venugopala Rao elaborates.

Additionally, an upgraded air-conditioned waiting room with all amenities will be set up at a cost of Rs 20 lakh.

In the last Council meeting, the proposal was approved by the civic body. Tenders will be invited for the work which is expected to start soon. Meanwhile, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, the corporation officials say, is planning to adopt the burial ground and extend support financially to the development of the facility along with its maintenance.

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