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Burial ground for Lingayats runs out of space in Pimpri-Chinchwad, PCMC promises to set up new one

🔴 The civic administration has also begun to restructure the existing burial ground at Morwadi so that it could be available for reuse.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: November 29, 2021 10:09:41 am
Lingayat community burial ground in Morwadi

After allegations of people belonging to the Lingayat community were being buried after digging up footpaths surfaced last week, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has promised to set up a new burial ground for the deceased from the community. The civic administration has also begun to restructure the existing burial ground at Morwadi so that it could be available for reuse.

PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy said: “It is not true that bodies were being buried on footpaths. The picture of a body that went viral gave a wrong impression. It was buried very much inside the burial ground compound but outside the burial area. This is the space where people can walk. This space was used for burying the dead by some families…”

Conceding that the burial ground at Morwadi — meant for cremating the deceased from the Lingayat community — has run out of space, Dr Roy said: “We have instructed our divisional offices to look for another space for setting up a burial ground for the Lingayat community. Our officials have zeroed in on a space in Nigdi. We are exploring the possibility of setting up the burial ground at Nigdi. If it is not possible, we will look elsewhere. But we will definitely set up another burial ground for the community,” he said.

PCMC health department said the two-acre burial ground at Morwadi has space to bury around 300 to 400 bodies. Dr Roy said currently the civic body is trying to restructure and renovate the existing burial ground. “Since the burial ground has run out of space, it was suggested that we should allow new burials over the existing ones. However, we are not in favour of this. This is a sentimental issue and families of the dead who are buried here will not agree to it. Instead, we have decided to deposit a four-foot layer of soil over the existing ones, so that new burials can take place without affecting the existing ones. The work will take another week to get completed. After that we will reopen the existing one,” he said.

Activist Maruti Bhapkar, in a letter to PCMC commissioner Rajesh Patil, said: The final rites of the deceased from Mohannagar, Kalbhornagar, Ramnagar, Phulenagar, Vidyanagar, Morwadi, Indiranagar, Shahunagar and neighbouring areas are carried out at the Shivkailas Lingayat burial ground in Morwadi. However, this burial ground has run out of space. As a result, footpaths are being broken near the burial ground and the dead are being buried. It is a shocking sight and it is unfortunate that PCMC has done nothing to correct the situation. They should have done it long before the burial ground ran out of space. PCMC has taken this serious issue very casually.”

Bhapkar said depositing soil over the existing bodies is not a permanent solution. “Instead, they should look for adequate space which is available with them to set up a new burial ground,” he said.

Advocate Kavita Swami, who belongs to the Lingayat community, said: “I have myself written letters to PCMC in the past alerting them about the poor space and improper maintenance of the burial ground. However, despite this being a sentimental issue and something which needs to be handled sensitively, PCMC failed to show any degree of seriousness. The news of bodies being buried on a footpath is highly disturbing. There should be immediate corrective steps taken by PCMC so that the dead can get dignified burials.”

Bhapkar said Pimpri-Chinchwad has three to four lakh Lingayat community members. “The Lingayant community has only one burial ground in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Even the dead from as far as Kamshet and Hinjewadi, which are outside the limits of PCMC, are buried at the Morwadi burial ground as there are no burial grounds in those areas. PCMC should take the initiative and set up a bigger burial ground so that the dead are buried with the dignity they deserve,” he said.

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