TDP MLA sleeps in crematorium to drive away fear among construction workers

Nimmala Rama Naidu, representing Palakole assembly constituency, had his dinner at the crematorium and slept on a folding cot.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2018 17:41 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
TDP MLA,Crematorium,Nimmala Rama Naidu
Nimmala Rama Naidu had gotten Rs 3 crore sanctioned by the government eight months ago to construct a new crematorium in place of the old one.(HT PHOTO)

Telugu Desam Party MLA from Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district braved mosquito bites and garbage stench to sleep in a crematorium in his Palakole town on Friday night in order to drive away fear among the construction workers engaged in its modernisation.

Nimmala Rama Naidu, representing Palakole assembly constituency, had his dinner at the crematorium and slept on a folding cot. He went home in the morning only to return to the graveyard in the afternoon to oversee the construction works.

“I am going to sleep in the same place for another two or three days. This is to instil confidence among the workers, who were otherwise scared of entering the premises to take up the construction,” Naidu said.

According to him, the Hindu crematorium in the town remained neglected for decades.

“There are no proper facilities for cremation of dead bodies. The entire cremation ground is slushy during rainy season and one cannot even step into the place. There is no water facility for the people to take a bath after cremating the deceased. What is more, there is a huge garbage dumping yard just adjacent to it emanating stench,” he said.

Following several representations from locals, the MLA got an amount of Rs 3 crore sanctioned by the government eight months ago to construct a new crematorium in its place.

“We wanted to completely modernise the place by developing a garden, constructing new platforms for cremating the bodies, bathrooms and providing other facilities. Unfortunately, no contractor was forthcoming to take up works, though we called tenders twice,” he said.

Finally, Naidu managed to find a contractor to do the work a couple of months ago, but the workers were scared.

A few days ago, while working, they noticed a partially burnt corpse and got frightened, fearing ghosts and spirits, and refused to continue work, he said.

That is when the idea struck Naidu to sleep in the crematorium to prove that there are no evil forces and there was nothing to be frightened of.

“I slept in the premises the whole night. And the trick worked. On Saturday, about 50 workers returned to work to resume the construction,” he said and hoped that more people would join in the next couple of days.

Asked whether he had faced any difficulty in sleeping in the crematorium, Naidu said: “Yeah, there were too many mosquitoes. And, of course, I had to bear with foul smell from the dumping yard. I am getting a mosquito net for the cot tonight.”

The first time MLA was candid in admitting that he had to take up such programmes to appease people. “After all, elections to the state assembly are not very far. We need to be in the good books of the people,” he said.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 21:11 IST