Even burial ground not a no-go area for crooked encroachers
With the shrinking of graveyards due to encroachments in the district, people are finding it tough to cremate their beloved ones. As against an existing 12,000 major living habitats among 468 grama panchayats across the 26 mandals in the district, there are only 217 grave yards available as per the official records.
Mahbubnagar: With the shrinking of graveyards due to encroachments in the district, people are finding it tough to cremate their beloved ones. As against an existing 12,000 major living habitats among 468 grama panchayats across the 26 mandals in the district, there are only 217 grave yards available as per the official records.
Even in these existing grave yards, there are no basic facilities available and majority of these burial grounds shrinking due to encroachments. With ever-growing population, the villages and towns in the district are fast expanding, and those grave yards which were once present on the outskirts now exist between living habitats and are being encroached upon. Most of the existing grave yards are devoid of water, proper roads and compound walls.
Even though there is a provision in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme to carry out digging of borewells, construction of roads and other required facilities in burial grounds and crematories, the district administration has not given a thought to explore these opportunities.
As there are different communities and people of different religions living together in major towns and villages, each community must have a separate burial ground based on their religion. However, with population growing continuously and value of land increasing tremendously, the existing burial grounds have all become saturated with no more land available to accommodate the dead. For instance, the Muslim burial ground in New Town area is fully occupied with hardly any place available.
“Earlier, this burial ground used to be on the outskirts of Mahbubnagar town. With fast-expanding population, there have been numerous colonies build up surrounding the grave yard now. With most of this grave yard already occupied there is hardly any space available to accommodate the new ones,” said Abdul Rasheed, an attendant at the New Town grave yard.
Even in villages, people are facing tough time to perform the last rites of their beloved ones as there is no proper burial ground available and most of the time they opt to bury them in hilly, forest or thorny waste lands. Majority of them bury their dead in their own farm lands. “We do not have a special burial ground or crematory for our village. We usually bury the dead or go for cremation in our own farm lands,” said Sabawat Gopal Nayak, from Balaji Thanda of Shankarayapally village in Jadcherla Mandal.
In MGNREGA, the government has provided a provision of Rs 10 lakh to construct electrical crematory. However, the District Rural Development Organisation officials have not given a thought to avail this opportunity. In majority Hindu community, people opt for cremation. As there are inadequate number of grave yards and crematoriums, people could utilise the available provisions and construct new crematoriums in each village.
The revenue officials from time to time have to inspect the available government land under each village and allocate it for the grave yards and ensure that it is not encroached by others. However, they have failed to do so. “At present, we are busy with Haritha Haram and engaging the MGNREGA workers for the programme.
As per available provisions of MGNREGA, we are ready to take up construction of grave yards and crematoriums. But for that, we require proposals from the people and based on that we will go ahead,” said Jagadeeshwar Reddy, Project Director DRDO.
By A Raju