Bangalore, September 24: The residents of Rajarajeshwarinagar, Kengeri Satellite Town, Pantharpalya and surrounding areas have to go to far away Sumanahalli or Mysore Road crematoria to cremate their kith and kin. The state-of-the-art crematorium at Pommaghatta, near Bande Matha at Kengeri Satellite Town, that will cater to this need is ready, but is yet to be thrown open for public use as it is caught in red tape.
The crematorium has been built on 1.5 acre plot abutting the Hindu burial ground at a cost of Rs. 4.5 crore. The project was executed by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) project division and work completed in December 2012. However, the project is yet to be taken over by the Rajarajeshwarinagar zonal office from the project division.
According to sources, though the crematorium is yet to be opened for public use, the BBMP has been paying Rs. 20,000 a month towards electricity charges. That apart, the warranty period on the expensive electrical installations at the crematorium will soon come to an end. “The electrical installations come with a one-year warranty. For the past eight months, the crematorium has not been inaugurated. If there is further delay, the warranty period will expire, causing a loss to the contractor and the BBMP,” sources added.
Conceding this, B.N. Girish, contractor, told The Hindu that there was a dearth of electrical crematoria in the city. There are only 10 electrical crematoria in the city. “This crematorium has been constructed as per the strict norms laid down by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). Though we faced opposition from the locals, we completed construction. We do not know why it isn’t being inaugurated. We have written several letters to the BBMP to no avail,” he pointed out.
B.V. Satish, BBMP’s chief engineer (Lakes) who oversaw the project execution, maintained that the project had been handed over to the electrical division of the Rajarajeshwarinagar zonal office. However, Radhakrishna, executive engineer of electrical division of the Rajarajeshwarinagar zonal office, claimed that the project was yet to be handed over to his office. He admitted that the BBMP was paying electricity bills amounting to Rs. 20,000 a month. “Whether we use electricity or not, certain minimum charges will have to be paid,” he said.
He also said that his office had sought Rs. 6 lakh a year as maintenance charges of the new crematorium. This will include salaries to be paid to the cleaners, sweepers, security personnel and cleaning material. “We were waiting for the BBMP’s 2013-14 budget to be cleared. Now that it has been approved by the government, we have requested the Commissioner to allow us to set aside the required funds from the emergency funds. Once we get his nod, we will float the tender and take over the crematorium.”
He claimed that the Commissioner’s approval is expected shortly. It now remains to be seen when the red tape is cleared and the crematorium is inaugurated.