Grave scene: Dead face a space crunch in Bengaluru

Real estate at a premium in Bengaluru's graveyards; people resort to advance booking; lack of facilities plagues crematoria too

Published: 24th December 2018 08:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2018 08:30 AM   |  A+A-

Graveyard, crematorium, cremation

Workers at the Chamarajapet graveyard have been struggling of late to find space for the dead | pandarinath b

Express News Service

BENGALURU: In Bengaluru, there is hardly any place left for dead people to rest in peace. With real estate development pushing prices of properties sky high, those who want to lay their loved ones to rest struggle to find even a six foot by three foot grave in the city. Situation is such that people have now started resorting to even advance booking.

“We keep getting requests for space from children whose parents are on the deathbed. This is a very sad state,” said a staffer at a burial ground near Mysuru Road.Bengaluru has as many as 132 burial grounds and 13 crematoriums. While BBMP maintains the crematoriums (both electric and firewood), graveyards are maintained by the civic body as well as various religious and private trusts.

The New Indian Express visited some of the graveyards in the city to check how grave the situation really is, and some shocking facts tumbled out of the closet.The Christian burial ground on Mysuru Road is 130 years old and spread across 5.5 acres. It has absolutely no space for a new grave. One cannot even walk without stepping on the grave of a person. At a few places, two persons from a family are buried in the same grave for want of space. They also share their name on a common headstone.

“One cannot even imagine how many people have been laid to rest here. It must be over a lakh; we do not keep a count. There is no space left here,’’ said one of the staffers at the burial ground, which is maintained by a Christian missionary.“In a city like Bengaluru, which has crossed one crore population, burying vertical is the only option left,’’ said the staffer.

There are clusters of graveyards on either side of Mysuru Road in Chamarajpet, Goripalya and surrounding areas. Each graveyard is reserved for a particular community or caste.At Goripalya burial ground, there are two types of tombs; one with expensive granite and another with just a layer of mud.

“If you give some money to the grave diggers, they will even encroach on the tomb with mud and remove the skeletons to allow you to bury your dead relatives. It is just like rich people encroaching on poor people’s land,’’ said Thimmananjiah, who resides nearby.

Harischandra Ghat in Malleswaram too faces space crunch. “One is supposed to pay only Rs 100 to the BBMP to bury the body. But in reality, relatives of the deceased are forced to cough up Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, which goes to unofficial accounts,’’ said a BBMP source.

Furnaces not functional

The two electric furnaces at Harish-chandra Ghat in the city frequently malfunction. Often, with one furnace shut for repairs, long queues can be seen to use the only working furnace.


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