Telangana’s Karimnagar town to offer ‘funeral for Re 1’ for poor families
A civic body in Telangana’s Karimnagar district has come up with a scheme to offer funeral services at a cost of just one rupee to help poor families perform the last rites for their loved ones.
Sardar Ravinder Singh, mayor of Karimnagar, has announced that the municipal corporation will bear all the expenses for the last rites of the dead irrespective of their caste or religion – whether it is cremation or burial.
“We shall provide hearse van for taking out the funeral procession, material required for performing the last rites, including flowers, garlands, firewood, sandalwood pieces, kerosene, ghee, new clothes for the person performing the funeral, all free of cost. We shall charge only Re 1 for record’s sake,” Singh said while speaking to the Hindustan Times.
The scheme, “Antim Yatra” or “Aakhri Safar” (final procession), will be formally launched on June 15.
Similarly, for poor people belonging to other religions, too, the corporation would provide the required facilities, besides allocating space for burial of the mortal remains.
Singh said he has been donating ₹2,000 to ₹3,000 to the poor for performing the last rites of their family members for the last ten years.
“But I have realised that performing last rites as per the rituals is as costly as performing a marriage, especially among the Hindus. So, I got this idea of funding the cost of the funeral from the municipal corporation budget itself,” he said.
Since the corporation has staff and vehicles at its disposal, Singh said it would not cost more than ₹3,000 to ₹4,000 for other material towards the last rites.
“We discussed it in the corporation meeting and decided to allocate ₹1.10 crore in the budget this year. We shall also purchase new vehicles at a cost of ₹50 lakh for carrying the dead bodies,” he said.
The corporation would also arrange for food for about 50 relatives of the deceased after the funeral at a cost of ₹5 per head if they wanted. About 2,000 volunteers working for the municipal corporation would coordinate with authorities in implementing the Re 1 funeral scheme.
Singh said the municipal corporation would also invite philanthropists to make donations for the scheme, which, he said would get an overwhelming response. “We shall open a separate bank account for the donors to contribute money,” he said.
The Karimnagar mayor is also contemplating constructing a separate building to keep the bodies of the deceased before they are taken to the crematorium or burial ground.
“Most of the people stay in rented houses and if any of their family members die, the landlords generally do not allow the bodies into the houses. For such people, we are planning to provide space to keep the bodies till the funeral arrangements are made and also for performing the rituals in the next 10-12 days,” Singh added.