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Rashmi Ranjan

The Telugu community living in the Millennium City of Cuttack on Sunday expressed utter displeasure over administrative demolishment of their lone crematorium at Hadia Patha.

According to sources, Cuttack district authority has razed all establishments along with the lone crematorium of the community built on the government land to make way for the second campus of SCB Medical College and Hospital as part of the Baliyatra Riverfront Improvement (BARFI) project.

While welcoming the developmental project, the Telugu community however has expressed disappointment that the eviction activities were carried out at the cremation site unilaterally without any consultations with the members of the community who are inextricably dependent on the crematorium for conduct of death ceremonies. 

The administration should have been undertaken demolition drive at the cremation site only after coming up with an alternative location for us to perform the last rites of any people," Telugu speaking resident of the city said.

“No crematorium has been demolished ever in the city. But, we are probably the most unfortunate because in the past we had to lose our cremation site at Khan Nagar and now this Hadia Patha has also been dismantled. We urge the district administration to provide a suitable land to our community for the cremation site,” the local said. 

“The National Green Tribunal has directed us to evacuate all types of encroachment from river bed. So, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation is carrying out the eviction drive. A R&R package has been designed for it,” said Bhabani Shankar Chayani, district Collector.

Earlier, the district administration had attempted to demolish the cremation ground, however, it refrained from doing it after Orissa High Court’s stay order. 

Residents of the Telugu community in the city have raised questions as to how the district administration could dismantle the crematorium while the matter is still subjudice in the court.  

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