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Venkitapuram residents demand burial ground

Karthik Madhavan
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The place is at the centre of a 17-acre plot that belongs to GCT

Action please: Venkitapuram residents' demand for a burial ground is yet to be fulfilled. At present, they use the vacant land behind the Government College of Technology, which is full of filth and garbage. — Photo: M. Periasamy
Action please: Venkitapuram residents' demand for a burial ground is yet to be fulfilled. At present, they use the vacant land behind the Government College of Technology, which is full of filth and garbage. — Photo: M. Periasamy

The road leading to the burial ground in Venkitapuram says it all: that all is not well with the place, and the dead make their last journey through unhygienic conditions.

The problem starts right at the beginning of the pathway leading to the ground. The narrow stretch is dotted with human waste and all other types of garbage making it narrower.

It may well be the most difficult walk one has to make to the ground behind the Government College of Technology and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. It is an open ground full of shrubs and has got nothing more to ensure a decent burial/cremation.

K. Purushothaman, Coimbatore Corporation councillor representing Ward 61, says the residents of Venkitapuram have been using the place as a burial ground for long. “It has been their traditional burial ground for two centuries.”

The place is at the centre of a 17-acre plot that belongs to the engineering college. It has, however, not used the land for long, thanks to the burning of bodies and discharge of sewage from the area.

To tide over the crisis, Mr. Purushothaman mooted a proposal wherein the college would allot a small portion of the land for burial ground and some more for the construction of a sewage treatment plant (STP) and recover the remaining land. “The residents wanted a solution that will help them and the college,” he said.

The proposal was taken up in right earnest by the authorities concerned. In November 2008, the then Director of Technical Education, based on a proposal from the Coimbatore Corporation, wrote on the issue to the Principal Secretary to the Higher Education Department.

Listing out the problems faced by both the residents and the college, he had said that the proposal from the Corporation for a burial ground and STP could be considered as it would benefit the parties concerned.

If the proposal were to be considered, the Government College of Technology would have to part with only 1.3 acres for the burial ground and another 20 cents for the STP.

He had also said that the burial ground could be relocated to a corner of the 17-acre plot.

The Secretary approved of the proposal and sent it to the Revenue Department, which is working on the file.

Mr. Purushothaman says the Corporation officials should follow-up the matter with the Department to ensure that Venkitapuram residents get a well-equipped burial ground at the earliest.

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