Graveyards of the city a matter of grave concern


Waste from Harishchandra Ghat is dumped at Srirampura burial ground. Mourners complain of foul smell, lack of proper waste disposal.

By Shalu Chowrasia

Unsegregated waste from Harishchandra Ghat has turned Srirampura burial ground into a dumping yard. The path leading to a platform where the people offered prayers was covered with the waste, according to The Softcopy reporter who visited the site a week ago.

Chandrashekhar, who was drawn to the cemetery due to its popularity all over Bangalore, said, “I did not expect to see this. The stinking garbage speaks for the poor maintenance and negligence by the staff.”

Crows fed on the offerings left behind by the crowd. A worker responsible for the burial rites at the cemetery told The Softcopy that the waste was dumped outside during dussera. “This waste is from the Harishchandra Ghat nearby. It was dumped by the waste-collecting van and has not been cleared since then,” he said.

Waste-collector van driver at Harishchandra Ghat, Ramakrishna, said that they collect segregated waste from the crematorium every day. “We dumped the garbage in the cemetery but we collect waste every day, so it will be cleared today,” he added.

Junior Health Inspector of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Shilpa N., said it was dumped in the cemetery because of heavy rains. “The health inspector of the concerned ward told me that the waste is to be dumped in the Bellahalli landfill. During heavy rainfall, it is difficult for the garbage trucks to reach there. So, the collectors might have dumped it there,” she added.

A visit to the cemetery four days later revealed that though the dumped waste had been collected, the place was still stinking. Waste from the prayer offerings was still dumped on the platform near the graves.

Ashwath Narayan Prakash, another visitor to the cemetery said that it is the duty of the government to ensure that at least the place where the dead rest does not stink.

Mr. Kondaiah, Health Inspector of the concerned ward said that it is a collection point for waste, from where waste is collected every day. “There is no other space to dump garbage, so we collect it from the cemetery and the crematorium and dump it there. But we clear the garbage every day,” he added.

Solid Waste Management Expert, BBMP, Manjula Rao, said that the dry waste from the Harishchandra Ghat is collected twice a week and wet waste is collected every day before 2’oclock. “If there is any waste dumped after 2 o’clock, then it is collected the next day.

“Pourakarmikas are in charge of clearing the shrubs and cleaning the burial grounds. They do it periodically,” she added. However, no pourakarmikas were seen at the site.

Reports said that an action plan for the beautification of the over 150 graveyards/burial grounds and nine crematoriums across the city was requested to be prepared in July 2019. In a meeting, Soil and Health Solutions had recommended BBMP that the waste from the crematoriums should be composted within the premises.

“Nothing has been done as of yet about the composters. At Harishchandra Ghat, the waste is not segregated. Not much has been done to beautify the condition of the crematoriums as well,” says founder of Soil & Health Solutions, Vasuki Iyengar.

A senior official from the Horticulture Department of BBMP informed that Rs. 3 crore was allocated for the maintenance of burial grounds and crematoriums in the February 2019 budget. “Wherever is urgency for maintenance, the horticulture committee gives approval and then the maintenance work is carried out,” he added.

Urban Planner, Anil Bhaskaran, pointed out that burial grounds are a place where people come to mourn, if they are not kept clean, it is a matter of grave concern. “Maintenance and infrastructure of the burial grounds should be prioritised,” he said.