The dalit populace in Kovilpathu area in Budalur has been constrained to carry their dead across a canal wading through its waters.
Around 75 dalit families live in Kovilpathu North street in Budalur village. A cremation shed for them is located on the Thanjavur-Budalur road, to which they have to cross the Ananda Cauvery channel that is over 50 feet wide. During summer, when there is no water in the canal, the people carry their dead across the dry canal bed.
However, when water flows through the canal during the rainy season, it turns to be a nightmare for people to cross over the canal. A Duraimanickam, a resident of the village and also the branch secretary of CPM said that many a time the bier was on the edge of falling into the river.
“Three persons have died after the water release in the canal this year for Samba cultivation. We have to wade through the waters,” he added. Farm workers also have to wade through the waters to go to work in their farm lands located on the other side of the canal. For other routine work, the people of the area use the banks of the Ananda Cauvery, which is just a narrow strip.
The villagers have been for a long time demanding the district administration to construct a foot overbridge across the canal. There had also been efforts in the past by the people to build the bridge, but in vain.