Smoke from TN's Karumandapam electric crematorium leaking for a year, complain locals

"When the problem of smoke coming through the building rose a year ago we thought it would be resolved soon but it has turned intense.
View of the electric crematorium at Karumandapam in Tiruchy on Tuesday | MK Ashok Kumar
View of the electric crematorium at Karumandapam in Tiruchy on Tuesday | MK Ashok Kumar

TIRUCHY:  Residents of Viswas Nagar and localities in the vicinity of the electric crematorium unit at Karumandapam complain of having to put up with the acrid smoke from burning bodies for around a year now. Official sources blame faulty equipment at the facility that was opened in 2009 as cause.

"When the problem of smoke coming through the building rose a year ago we thought it would be resolved soon but it has turned intense. It is suffocating now, taking in the putrid smell billowing out of burning bodies," said A Manivannan, a local who owns a shop near the crematorium.

We fear the health consequences from prolonged inhalation of the smoke, he added. K Prabakaran, another local, said, "The 20-metre-tall, high-rise chimney is meant to stop smoke from reaching the houses, but half of it escapes through the holes in the building."

A source traced the root of the cause to a defunct motor that pushes the smoke from the unit through the chimney. “The anti-pollution device fitted in the crematorium also was out of use, letting the toxic fumes permeate the air and leave putrid stench lingering,” the source added.

"The motor malfunctions very often. Hence, it is better that it be replaced," the source also said. When enquired, a civic body official said most machinery components are over a decade old, causing it to malfunction. "A tender notice for the renovation is being prepared and it would be completed soon. We expect the works to get completed within a month," the official added.

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