No relief for the dead: At Bengaluru graveyard, families must buy water for last rites

Both BBMP and BWSSB have allegedly been passing the buck on whose responsibility it is to resolve the issue.
No relief for the dead: At Bengaluru graveyard, families must buy water for last rites
No relief for the dead: At Bengaluru graveyard, families must buy water for last rites
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A rusty borewell, dried up taps and broken water pipelines are a sight to behold at the Vital Nagar Hindu Burial Ground and Crematorium in Bengaluru’s Chamarajpet.

The burial ground sees at least 25 bodies every day. But there is not a drop of water for family members of the deceased to perform the last rites.

According to a Chamarajpet resident Varadharaj Bhat, the water problem started six months ago.

“The families who go to the burial ground have to carry their own water cans for bathing and also for the water required to perform the last rites. Hindus fill a pot of water and carry it around the funeral pyre three times before the bodies are cremated. It is a tradition followed since centuries. Now people have to get their own water for that. Also, there is not a single drop of water to even wash hands and legs let alone have a bath,” Varadharaj Bhat notes.

Varadharaj claims that he has complained to the Bruhut Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) many times about the lack of water. Since the crematorium and burial ground belong to the BBMP, he claims to have written many complaints as well.

“After three months of writing letters, I visited the ward office and told them about the problem. The BBMP then said that borewell connections and water complaints have to be filed with the BWSSB. I filed a complaint with BWSSB as well. I also visited Cauvery Bhavan and told the officials about it. They said that the burial grounds belong to the BBMP and hence the civic body would have to look into the matter,” Varadharaja says.

On Saturday, a veteran Kannada actor B Jaya’s sister had passed away and the family had got the body to the Vittal Nagar crematorium. When the actor realised that the place had no water, she called up the local corporator, G Kokila Chandrashekar, who allegedly did not respond.

However, Varadharaja says that the corporator’s husband allegedly picked up the phone and said, “What can we do if there is no water. I can’t magically produce water. I cannot help.”

According to grave digger employed at the burial ground, the well in the premise has dried up and the motor, that had short-circuited, has not been fixed. He also said that the water pipeline which connects the borewell to various taps has also ruptured.

“We (grave diggers) live inside the burial ground itself. Even we have to buy water every day. We informed BBMP that the motor was not functional six months ago. They have not yet repaired or replaced it. Hence the borewell is not working. Also, the well, which was a source for drinking water got contaminated as people used to throw garbage in it. We cleaned it up and then it dried up a few months ago,” he explains.

Despite attempts by TNM to contact them, officials at BBMP and BWSSB were unavailable for comment. 

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