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Valayampattu residents seek proper cremation ground

S. Natarajan

At present, bodies being cremated near a broken bridge

— Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

FAR FROM PEACE: A tomb seen near the Kanar in Valayampattu near Vaniyambadi.

VANIYAMBADI: Residents of Ward 1 of Valayampattu panchayat near here suffer from the lack of a proper cremation ground.

According to sources, the residents cremate bodies near a broken bridge in an area belonging to the Vaniyambadi Municipality on PJN Road. Their repeated pleas seeking a separate burial/cremation ground are yet to bear fruit.

Tirupathi Gounder, former president of Vallayampattu panchayat, said the government was not willing to allocate funds for the cremation ground. The government had said that funds were being extended only to the Scheduled Castes. There were five wards in Vallyampattu and the total population was 9,000. As many as 2,000 people live in Ward 1. The remaining four wards have cremation grounds, Mr. Gounder said.

The panchayat was not able to locate a site for the cremation ground in the ward. The residents had allowed the VANITEC of the tannery units in Vaniyambadi to set up a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant on 90 acres of land in Ward 1. Pleas have been made to the VANITEC to spare one acre of unoccupied land for the construction of a cremation ground, Mr. Gounder said.

Though the VANITEC had said that it would consider the request, no progress had been made, Mr. Gounder alleged. The district administration should intervene in the issue as cremating the bodies had become a major problem in the ward.

Mr. Gounder also said that there were no adequate number of nurses at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the ward. At present there was only one nurse at the PHC. The centre was not equipped to handle emergency pregnancy cases. A situation existed where the nurse always referred the patients to the Vaniyambadi Government Hospital. Though Collector Dharmendra Pratap Yadav had been saying that the PHCs and the Government Hospitals had experienced no shortage of doctors and nurses, the situation in Ward 1 was worse, much to the anguish of the residents, Mr. Gounder claimed.

“Where will the poor go if the PHC is not in a position to handle basic health problems. Pregnant women suffer the most,” he alleged.

The situation at the Vaniyambadi hospital was much worse, he added. Many were referred to the Vellore Government Hospitals even for minor treatment. Mr. Gounder said that he had taken up the issue with Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.

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