Burial ground in neighbourhood? KHB Colony residents in a fix

Burial ground in neighbourhood? KHB Colony residents in a fix

Vacant land at Tiruvail near Vamanjoor identified

Like others, Pushparaj, a lorry driver, had dreamt of building a house. He had even bought a site measuring 20x25 ft, at the prestigious Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) Colony at Tiruvail near Vamanjoor. However, his dream hangs in balance.

A less than an acre of land (75 cents) abutting the site belonging to Pushparaj is proposed to be developed as a graveyard. It was just a few months ago, a pamphlet-turned-flex board in Kannada, erected at Vamanjoor, announcing the plans to develop a hindu burial ground has put hundreds of residents in a fix.

If that was the plight of Pushparaj, Padmanabh, who conducted the housewarming ceremony of his house located opposite to the land in question just a few months ago, stares at uncertainty. An employee of Doordarshan Kendra in stone’s throw away distance, he is still not sure of shifting to the house from his office quarters while Teresa Joseph, who resides right next to the land identified for graveyard, is thinking of selling the house. She had moved to the house just a few years ago.

“With the land next to my house identified for developing a burial ground, I can’t be at ease’, said Teresa, leaving it to this reporter to imagine ‘funeral  procession passing in front of the house every other day’.

K S Shetty, a retired BEML engineer and resident of the same colony, said, “All was fine till a few months ago, when we learnt about graveyard. An estimated amount of Rs 3.82 lakh has been already sanctioned for the purpose, with those in the forefront of Hindu Rudrabhoomi Abhivruddhi Samiti exerting pressure on authorities at Mangaluru City Corporation to expedite the plan.” 

What’s strange is, there was neither a mention of this vacant land nor the plans to develop a graveyard in the same, according to the site map released by KHB, during the allotment of sites beginning from 1996 to 2006. However, according to the right to tenancy certificate (RTC), the same land has been allotted by the district administration in 2000-01 to develop a burial ground, said Padmanabh and Karunakar Shetty adducing at the various documents gleaned through right to information (RTI) act.

Surprisingly, the authorities concerned, revenue department in this case, has not sought the opinion of either TB hospital authorities or Dr Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama in the vicinity, as is the rule for obtaining no objection certificate (NOC), before going ahead with any public utilities plan.

Shetty questioned the rationale behind developing the burial ground here, when the burial grounds are located at Pacchanady and Parari in the same ward.

Of the 90 sites developed by KHB, houses have come up on 30 and odd sites and many others who were planning to build, have now put their plans on hold. Though the disputed land comes under ward 32 of the city corporation, local corporator Hemalatha Raghu Saliyan is also unaware of the source of the proposal, her husband Raghu Saliyan claimed.

118 deaths

Going a step ahead, Ujwala, a home maker, has also collected the number of deaths in the same ward in last four years. In all, 118 people have died and the last rites of most of them has been conducted at burial grounds. In all, the ward has a population of 16,000 people, with half of them, 8,000 belonging to Hindu community, said Ujwala, dismissing the necessity of another place for final rest.

Four buried here

Raghu Saliyan, husband of local corporator, said the demand for burial ground has stemmed from the fact that the mortal remains of four people who were killed in a mass murder 20 years ago, were buried in the same land. However, there is no sight of the graves. Following stiff opposition from locals, the proposal hangs in balance.

Samiti for burial ground
A pamphlet in Kannada released by Hindu Rudrabhoomi Abhivruddhi Samiti announcing about 75 cents of land allotted by the government way back in 2001 to develop a burial ground behind PF quarters at KHB colony is the reason for chaos and confusion. According to K S Shetty, a resident of KHB colony, the people associated with the Samiti Sadashiv Shetty, Jayanti among others are not locals. Though they belong to the same ward, they stay in different locality, yet they have been stressing on burial ground here, for the reasons best known to them. When the houses were being built then, people were under the impression that, three acres of land, of which 75 cents of land is identified for burial ground, is just a vacant land. While a part of it is allotted for building anganwadi building, it remains vacant still. A part of the land is used as a road connecting Ashraya Colony on the other side.  On the right side of the land, stands provident fund (PF) quarters. With 127 flats in the residential complex, they will also be affected, Karunakara Shetty said.

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