Official visits Hyderabad crematoriums amid complaints of overcharging

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Hyderabad, May 24 (IANS) A top Telangana government official on Monday made a surprise visit to crematoriums in Hyderabad amid public complaints that caretakers are charging hefty amounts for the last rites.

Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Arvind Kumar visited the crematoriums located in Punjagutta, Bansilalpet and Jubilee Hills to check whether extra money was being charged from people.

To make sure people were not forced to shell out extra money to perform the last rites of their departed, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has started displaying the charges at crematoriums last week.

The rate for conducting the last rites on a funeral pyre using wood is Rs 8,000 and the charge for electric cremation is Rs 4,000.

Arvind Kumar also looked into the amenities at the crematoriums and checked the electric cremation facility in Punjagutta as well. He was accompanied by GHMC Khairatabad zonal Commissioner P. Pravinya and other civic officials.

The inspection came amid reports that caretakers of crematoriums in the city were charging anywhere between Rs 25,000 to Rs 70,000 for the last rites as the number of cremations has increased in view of deaths due to Covid-19.

The caretakers are reportedly collecting the charges in cash and not issuing any receipts. Though the rules say that those who die at government hospitals should be cremated free of cost, their families are being make to shell out money.

In view of the complaints of overcharging, the GHMC, apart from fixing the prices for cremations, has also set up help desks at the crematoriums and put up banners on the charges to be collected.

It said that if any citizen finds that crematoriums are collecting more than prescribed charges, they can call on 040-21111111.