VILLUPURAM: Residents of Ekkiyarkuppam fishing village near Marakanam are facing a queer situation when it comes to performing the final rites of their dead.
A path laid to the cemetery was washed away by sea waves, and villagers are made to walk in sea water carrying their dead to perform last rites.
Adding to their problems is a compound wall built by a private shrimp packaging firm blocking the path used by the villagers to reach the cemetery.
According to sources, nearly 4,000 people are residing in Ekkiyarkuppam fishing village near Marakanam. On the northern side of the village, a cemetery is situated and people used to take their dead there for burial. A path was laid by the government to reach the burial ground along the sea shore.
In course of time, due to soil erosion and rough waves, the path got washed away leaving behind just sand, and the villagers were forced to walk on the sand carrying their dead to cemetery.
But with the passing of time, this became more troublesome as the path was often covered with sea water, and people had to wade through water along with the dead to reach the cemetery. If the sea gets rough, they had to wait till it calmed down, and sometime they are forced to wait even for a whole day. Adding to their woes, a private shrimp packaging company has built its compound wall extending to the path to the cemetery.
“Circumventing the shrimp company would mean walking in the sand for more than three kilometres, which is not practical,” said Ragubathy, village panchayat chief, Ekkiyarkuppam.
Some of the villagers opposed construction of the compound wall, but a majority supported it since it had earlier donated an amount for a temple repair work in the village.
Despite several petitions given to officials of the district administration to find a solution to the problem, nothing has come through.