CUTTACK: With the water supply to Khannagar cremation ground remaining cut off and two tubewells lying defunct, relatives of the deceased have been facing an uphill task in cremating bodies for the last few days. Water shortage has forced the LPG-run furnace of the crematorium to shut down which leads to a waiting period of two to three hours as only a wooden pyre is used.
While water is used to clean the ashes and cool the LPG-run furnace so that they can be ready for use again, at least two pitchers of water are required before cremating a body as per Hindu rituals. Sources said while one pitcher of water is required towards bathing the body, another is used in cooking ‘Shradha’ and other rituals. After cremation, water is required for bathing of people engaged in cremation.
Relatives of the deceased are being forced to purchase water bottles from the market or collect water from the localities. When Covid-19 cases were low, the crematorium used to get 6-7 bodies daily. The average number is now around 12 and goes up to 15 on some days.
According to the crematorium staff, though people have been facing the problem for the last 15 days, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) is yet to initiate steps to address the issue. Earlier, apart from the two tube wells, a water supply connection was provided from the adjacent Biswanath Pandit Park to the crematorium.
But due to the shifting of the motor pump to facilitate the ongoing construction work of the park’s boundary wall, the water supply system has been lying defunct. Besides, the proposed Cuttack Netaji Bus Terminal (CNBT) is under construction near the crematorium. City Health officer Satybrat Mohapatra said the officials of PHEO have been instructed to repair the defunct tube wells and restore the water supply as soon as possible.