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Businessman does a ‘Srimanthudu’


Taking a leaf out of Mahesh Babu's hit film 'Srimanthudu', the concept of paying back to one's native place, a businessman did his bit. S. Venkatraman, Managing Partner of Vijaya Bharathi enterprises, the authorised dealer for TVS group and Tata Motors, has developed a modern graveyard in his native Pakala village just in five months. The cremation ground was earlier home to slush pools and mounds of earth and a dumping ground for construction debris and all forms of garbage. Besides, there was no water facility for bath, tonsuring of head and other rituals.

The woes faced by him during his mother's cremation made him to take the decision and ensure that nobody in his village faces such problems during the 'last journey'. While consultations with the villagers bore little fruit in finding a solution, he decided to go it alone. In January 2015 he wrote to the District Collector seeking help. Things started moving when village elders, public representatives, officials and social activists finally evinced interest in it. The site was levelled and a cremation platform developed. The cremation bed, made of cast iron, avoids spillover and also consumes less firewood and kerosene.

There is a separate 'pinda pradanam' area for conducting post-funeral activities spread over the next thirteen days, with enough space. The project costs him Rs.30 lakh, nearly double his initial estimate, but Venkatraman is a satisfied man today. While inaugurating the facility on Wednesday and after formally handing it over to the Pakala Panchayat, Tirupati Sub-Collector Himanshu Shukla said it was the end of Mr. Venkatraman's responsibility and the onus of maintenance was now shifted to the residents of the village.

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