In Pune’s bustling IT park, villagers hold cremations on the road
A prominent part of Pune, the Hinjewadi IT Park is spread over three phases and has major IT firms such as Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Cognizant among others, employing nearly three lakh IT specialists and support staff.pune Updated: Jul 13, 2017 13:49 IST
Cremating the dead on a busy road in Pune’s Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park at Hinjewadi may shock visitors, but this has become a common feature here in the absence of a crematorium for villagers.
A prominent part of Pune, the Hinjewadi IT Park is spread over three phases and has major IT firms such as Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Cognizant among others, employing nearly three lakh IT specialists and support staff.
This IT Park contributes significantly to the annual billion-dollar-plus software export industry from Pune.
However, the neighbouring villagers whose lands were consumed in the creation of the IT Park have been struggling for the last 10 years to get a decent crematorium for the community. With the nearest crematorium located four kilometres away, Gawarewadi villagers have been conducting funerals on the Boirwadi-Maangaon road near their village. On July 7, the body of a 33-year-old villager, Parmeshwar Gaware, resident of Gawarwadi in Phase-3 of the IT Park was cremated on this road amidst IT Park traffic which came to a halt.
“MIDC issued a certificate of six guntha (about 6,000 sq.ft) land for the purpose of a crematorium but the land owners refused the Gram Panchayat request to construct the crematorium. They throw stones at anyone who enters their premises for cremating the dead,” Sandip Sathe, Sarpanch of Maan village said while speaking to Hindustan Times.
An MIDC (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) official, Santosh Deshmukh, said that the state industrial development corporation on its part “has already provided for the crematorium”.
The absence of a crematorium for the people of Gawarewadi has been felt for nearly a decade now.
In 2007, the Maharashtra government had acquired land for the IT Park from village Gawarewadi and other parts of Maan village and the villagers continued to use the old crematorium for a few years after the land acquisition as the IT offices and buildings were yet to come up.
The villagers were assured that alternate land would be allotted for constructing a new crematorium at Gawarewadi.
Since carrying a body by foot for four kilometres is not possible for mourners, they have been cremating the dead on the road itself. Pune district authorities have shown no interest in addressing this situation and have cast a blind eye to the funerals on the road.
Villager Sandip Gaware said he has witnessed at least 40-45 cremations on the IT Park road. “Why can’t we be provided with a crematorium?” he asked.
Increasingly, as Pune moves towards underlining its status as an IT hub, at least on par with Bengaluru, such occurrences cannot continue and the authorities will have to act quickly before ‘IT ‘ gets too late.