Corporation begins work on modernisation of crematorium

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The City Corporation has begun work on modernising the cremation ground at Thycaud. The project seeks to improve the existing facilities, augment the number of cremation units and beautify the premises.

The construction of a new block to house two electric furnaces is the first work to be taken up. The existing building is to be renovated and used for pre-cremation rituals. The project designers have proposed a diesel generator as a back-up system to keep the electric units working during power failure. An on-site mortuary is another major feature of the Rs.3.5-crore project.

The four firewood furnaces will be provided with improved refractory brick lining while the traditional cremation ground using husk and straw is to be retained with modifications. All the units will have facilities for periodic collection of ash without interrupting the cremation process. The initial proposal to install a gas-fired crematorium has been shelved because the technology is yet to be refined.

The main entrance to the redesigned crematorium is from Kannettumukku-Killipalam Road on the east side. There are separate gates for pedestrians and vehicles. The site will have parking lots for cars and two-wheelers.

Another entrance at the southwest corner will provide access for VIP vehicles and ambulances bringing dead bodies. A road starting from this entry runs around the electric unit and leads to the Balippura, bathroom and the other units within the complex. The project also involves the widening of the approach road from Mettukada.

An elevated walkway from the pedestrian entry cuts across the parking area. Both sides of the tiled walkway will be covered with lawns and flowering plants. Three flights of steps provide access to the burning grounds.

A pavilion located at the middle of the walkway provides a waiting shed for the public. The area between the electric and wood-burning units will accommodate a bigger pavilion. Two toilet blocks will also be built.

Green belt

The sprawling premises covering an area of 1.4 acres will be landscaped with lawns, gardens and four freshwater pools stocked with fish. The entire premises will be ringed by a green belt comprising trees of selected species. A spokesman for the Kumar Group, which conceived the project, said the landscaping was designed to impart a serene atmosphere for the last rites.

In 1994, the Legislative Committee on Environment had recommended the modernisation of burial and burning grounds to reduce pollution problems. The committee headed by K.P. Nooruddin also observed that it was not easy to locate new burial or burning grounds in cities. Hence, the practical solution was to modernise the existing grounds and equip them to handle more bodies with lesser pollution.

Four projects

The modernisation of the crematorium is part of a package of four projects drawn up by the City Corporation with the objective of improving infrastructural facilities and giving a facelift to the capital. The other three projects include the beautification of the Sanghumukham beach and the Putherikandam Maidan and the conversion of the Manaveeyam Veedhi at Vellayambalam into a boulevard.