Pune: Road-Side Funeral In Ghera Sinhagad As Bureaucratic Hurdles Delay Promise Of Crematorium

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Pune, 25th August 2023: In the vicinity of Ghera Sinhagad, a distressing scene unfolds as road-side cremations have become the norm for years. While both central and state governments pour crores of rupees into advertisements heralding development, the disheartening situation on the ground remains evident.

Meanwhile, the promise of the forest department to allocate a space for a crematorium has become entangled in bureaucratic red tape, further fueling citizens’ frustration.

A member of the tribal Mahadevkoli community from Atkarwadi, nestled at the base of the Sinhagad hills, passed away yesterday. The inclement weather raised a perplexing question for the community: how and where to conduct the funeral? After the rain subsided, the villagers and relatives reached a decision to hold the cremation on the street the next morning.

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During the funeral proceedings, the rain returned, forcing mourners to juggle umbrellas while attending to the burning pyre. With no cemetery within the village’s bounds, the citizens have grappled with this issue for years. Adjacent to the village lies a vast expanse of forest land, a portion of which the forest department had pledged – ten guntas specifically – for the crematorium. However, reports suggest that this proposal remains mired in bureaucratic delays at the higher levels.

Chetan Jedhe, a resident of Atkarwadi and a member of the District Vigilance and Control Committee, lamented, “This is the other side of our village, renowned for tourism. Regardless of the season—be it summer or the monsoon—funerals evoke the same ordeal. Those who tout development on television ought to turn introspective.”

Monika Padher, the Sarpanch of Ghera Sinhagad, clarified, “The Gram Panchayat has diligently pursued the matter by submitting a proposal to the Forest Department for a cemetery location. However, the clearance is still pending. Urgent action from the forest department is crucial to ensure the provision of space.”

Bhushan Joshi, the Group Development Officer of Panchayat Samiti Haveli, disclosed, “Consultations with village functionaries have transpired, and swift action is urged to expedite the availability of the cemetery. The Atkarwadi burial ground will be prepared well before the upcoming monsoon season.”

Pradeep Sankpal, Bhamburda Forest Range Officer of the Forest Department Pune, elaborated on the situation, stating, “A proposal to allocate ten gunthas land for the Atkarwadi cemetery has been dispatched to the senior office. In this village, gaining approval for said proposal proves challenging, given the disapprovals under the Forest Rights Act.”


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