Monday, April 28, 2008

Burial space a grave issue

Burial space a grave issue
Encroachment, Expansion And Population Boom Causing Crunch

Bangalore: Burial is something most of us don’t think about till the death of a dear one. However, as the city grows, space for our dead is shrinking. With increasing population and expansion of Bangalore’s boundaries, severe shortage of burial space could soon become a reality.
This is a matter that leaders of different communities are worried about. Though it may not be a serious issue at the moment, it must be addressed before it’s too late.
A Parsi in the city says, “Bangalore is the only place in India which has both burial grounds and the Tower of Silence. For a community of about 1,000 members in the city, with average death rate of about six a year, we should not have any problem.’’ People are also open to the idea of electric cremetoria, he adds, as the changing demographics is making citizens think differently.
Says a priest in a city church: “We should always respect our culture and practices. The Bible does not speak of the manner one needs to be laid to rest following his death, but it has been a serious religious and cultural practice among Catholics in this part of the world to bury a body after performing the church services.’’
A graveyard or a cemetery has immense significance for a Catholic, as the community believes in ‘bond between the living and the dead’. The government should earmark vacant land for cemeteries as is done for schools, parks or playgrounds, a few community leaders suggested.
Islamic community leaders complain that vacant land in possession of the Wakf Board, which manages the burial grounds, is being encroached upon.
A former chairman of Karnataka State Minorities Commission, said a Government Order dating back to 1992 states that government land can be earmarked as burial grounds on request by mosque committees or Jamats. However, no action has been taken on it.
“Efforts are on to implement the Karnataka Public Premises Unauthorized Occupants Eviction Act to evict encroachers. Section 54 of the Wakf Act prescribes several provisions to safeguard the property of the board. Several cases are pending in court. Paucity of land for burial will be a serious problem in future,’’ the community leader added.
Hindu communities whose members bury the dead include Vokkaligas, Lingayats and some sections of Idigas. However, they are not yet feeling the pinch as the ceremonies, in most cases, are conducted in their respective native villages.


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