Administrative stalemate holding up crematorium

For the people of Paingottoor panchayat, an idyllic village on the eastern suburbs of Ernakulam bordering the neighbouring Idukki district, the trauma of the loss of dear ones goes beyond their very death.

The panchayat with considerable forest cover and the population being largely made up of poor migrant farmers, majority of the residents do not have land of their own to either bury or cremate the bodies. Their only option being to take the bodies to the municipal crematorium either at Muvattuzha or Thodupuzha located around 17 km and 16 km away respectively.

Though Kothamangalam block panchayat had identified around 50 cents of excess land in Neduvakkad in ward 3 of Paingottoor panchayat for an electric crematorium in association with Paingottoor panchayat back in 2016-17, it has been a case of continued disruption.

The land was hilly and had to be levelled for which two contractors were engaged. By the time, it was over, allegations of corruption in the sale of earth were levelled, leading to a police case disrupting the work.

"Then as the last governing committee was about to inaugurate the construction, the revenue department put both the Kothamangalam block panchayat and Paingottoor pabchayat in the dock for having initiated the project on land not included in their asset register," said Sabu Mathai, a four-time councillor now representing Neduvakkad ward.

The new governing committee had included the project in their plans by estimating the value of the land to be paid to the revenue department to go ahead with the construction. However, a new stumbling block emerged in the form administrative stalemate after the opposition Left Democratic Front successfully brought about a no-trust motion against panchayat president Cissy Jaison of the United Democratic Front president.

So, the project will hardly see any progress till after October 20 when a new president is expected to be elected. Mr. Mathai said that the objection raised by the revenue department would be resolved by depositing the amount as estimated for the land and the project would get underway once the administrative stalemate was over.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 7:45:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/administrative-stalemate-holding-up-crematorium/article36973805.ece

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