Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rest in peace

Somehow, this view of the Nungambakkam burial-and-cremation ground seemed rather serene. I seem to remember that whenever I looked out at this from the train, there was some smoke coming out of the chimney; this was the first time in a long while that the crematorium seemed to be at rest.

This is one of the bruial grounds run by the Corporation of Chennai. Their website lists the other 34, as also 38 private ones. From what little I know about the procedures, the place where the death certificate is issued determines which one of the Corporation's grounds can be used. There is possibly no such restriction for the private ones, but many of them are denominational and therefore, well, private. There are 4 crematoria maintained by the Corporation which do not have any geographical restrictions; these are the electric crematoria at Anna Nagar, Kannamapet and Besant Nagar and the gasified one at Washermanpet.

The draft Master Plan for Chennai's development had proposed to convert at least 20 of the existing crematoria to gasified ones. That will no doubt reduce the amount of firewood used for the purpose. It will also do away with the smoke from the chimneys - maybe this one has been modified already!

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