Chennai cemeteries running out of space, Christian community seeks new cemetery

Photo: PTI

Chenai: The Christian community in Chennai faces a major problem of lack of space in cemeteries. The community wants the government to reduce the time it takes to open family tomb vaults in cemeteries for reburial.

The community also petitioned the state government to provide a new cemetery on the outskirts of town.

The Christian community has also called on the government to allow the multi-vaulting of the Kilpauk Cemetery, which is set in a sprawling 16-acre compound, to be opened. However, the cemetery, which is the oldest and largest in the city dating back to 1903, now only allows burial of families whose members are directly interred there.

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Kilpauk Cemetery had tiered vaults built in 2007 and could accommodate 450 bodies in three vaults, with each vault able to hold 150 bodies. The vaults, however, became full three years after the new vaults were introduced.

Bosco Alangar Raj, secretary of the Madras Board of Cemeteries, told IANS that they had sought permission from the authorities to open the vaults and wanted the state government to set a deadline for the opening of the vaults. Currently, Tamil Nadu has no fixed rule for the opening of vaults, while neighboring states of Kerala and Karnataka have vaults open within two years.

The secretary of the Madras Cemetery Board also said that he has requested the Tamil Nadu government for at least five acres of land in the outskirts of the city to welcome the burial of Christians of all faiths.

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He also said families would not be allowed to build graves to save space.

Greater Chennai Corporation officials told IANS that the government will soon take a decision on opening graves for reburials within two years as requested by the Christian community in Chennai.

Catholic Church sources told IANS that if the graves were opened for reburial within two years, it would significantly relieve pressure on space constraints in cemeteries.

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