The city boasts of four electric crematoriums but strangely none of them are functional. Protests from the local residents and technical snags have put paid to these crematoriums which are supposed to be the most hygienic way of disposing the corpse.
Though the incinerator at Amberpet, the oldest in the city, is in working condition but it is not being put to use with the locals protesting against the ‘unbearable stench’ which emanates whenever a body is burnt. Same is the case with the electric crematorium at Punjagutta which had to be shut down last week following protests from the residents.
Raju, operator at the Amberpet crematorium said, “earlier 2-6 bodies used to be burnt here everyday before the protests took place.” “A mob from the locality attacked the crematorium in April demanding its closure complaining about the stench. They were also scared that it might spread some disease in the area,” adds Raju.
The electric crematorium at Bansilalpet is not in use for the past five years. Recently two new incinerators have been acquired by the GHMC but not installed yet as the building requires electrical connections and some repairs, it is said.
The crematorium at S. R. Nagar is the lone one which has not faced public ire but unfortunately it has developed a technical snag and is out of order since a week.
When a body is burnt in an electric crematorium with a 90 feet high chimney the smoke shouldn’t be a cause of concern. But what if the body is one which is in the process of decomposing?
The problem, many say, is because of Satya Harishchandra Foundation which collects unclaimed bodies usually from the Osmania General Hospital and the Gandhi Hospital, and performs their last rites at the electric crematoriums. The bodies are often decomposed and disease ridden.
“The bodies brought in by the organisation are in a decomposed state owing to which the foul smell emanates,” says Raju.
The foundation used to burn the unclaimed dead bodies at the electric crematoriums but in the wake of protests they had to go for the traditional way of cremation which needs more space and money. “We conducted a mass funeral last month and burnt around 200 bodies,” said K. Rajeshwar Rao, general secretary of the foundation.
Mr.Rao blamed the GHMC for the poor quality of the new incinerators which take 3 to 4 hours for burning a body when they ought to take just 40 minutes. The slow burning process only adds to the problem with the smoke wafting around for a long time.
“If good water filters are used then the smoke would get properly filtered and there won’t be stench and smoke,” Mr. Rao adds.
Crematoriums shut down after protests from residents