Layastyanam – Final Destination

Passion for service touches a new height as the Rotarians of three Rotary clubs of RI District 3020 facilitated the construction of a classy crematorium at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.

The last resting place for man need not be an unkempt, dirty piece of ground. Not that his mortal remains are going to mind that, but it is important that his survivors feel satisfied that they have given a fitting tribute to him; that his soul rests in peace in a pleasing ambience. This was what motivated the Rotarians of RI District 3020 to build a beautiful crematorium with all modern amenities at Kakinada.

Kakinada which is the headquarters of East Godavari district, is one of the largest cities in Andhra Pradesh and is nicknamed ‘Fertiliser City’ owing to the large concentration of Passion for service touches a new height as the Rotarians of three Rotary clubs of RI District 3020 facilitated the construction of a classy crematorium at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. FINAL Destination Sprawling camps of Layasthanam. Final Destination.indd 62 10/29/2015 3:05:02 PM FEBRUARY 2014 ROTARY NEWS 63 fertiliser plants here. The city has a deep water port and is the second largest in the state after the Visakhapatnam port. It is the hub of the world’s largest discovery of national gas in the Krishna Godavari basin, being extracted by the Reliance Industries. For the food connoisseurs, the unique Kakinada Kaaja is a sure treat for the sweet tooth.

The Rotarians of Kakinada are an active group avid about making lives comfortable for the society. A sober visit to pay the last tributes to a lost friend by Rtn. Lakkaraju Satyanarain resulted in the birth of ‘Layasthanam’ a striking garden of peace for the departed soul. The place was a pathetic excuse for a cremation ground filled with filth, stagnant dirty water flowing in from the drains of the surrounding area, unbearable stench and inhabited with hordes of pigs. Facilities for performing the last rites were totally non-existent. It was always with a heavy heart the citizens of the area would give a send-off for their dead relative at such a woeful place.

Rtn. Satyanarain thus woke his fellow Rotarians to the dismal condition of the cremation ground. Subsequently, three Rotary clubs – RC Kakinada, RC Kakinada Central and RC Kakinada Golden Jubilee – got together to bring out a colossal transformation that has not only brought great satisfaction to the community but it has also established the public image of Rotary far and wide across the city which has a population of over five lakhs. The Kakinada Rotary – Burial Ground Development and Maintenance Trust was formed for this purpose. The state government officials also gave a nod to this project and the Municipal Corporation lent its full support for the project. The minister for HRD, Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, MP, an honorary member of RC Kakinada and Shri. Chandrasekhara Reddy, MLA, a member of RC Kakinada Central were also instrumental in the successful completion of the project.

With the Rotarians dedicating their time, energy and money head-on, the new crematorium got a pride of the place. It was dedicated to the people of Kakinada on March 29, 2013. The dream project cost Rs. 1.75 crores. With contribution of Rs. 50 lakhs from Mr. C.V. Raju, Free Mason and a past Rotarian from Coimbatore with his roots in Kakinada, a gasbased crematorium also has been established at the premises, which will help protect ecology. The Rotarians have given substantial importance to greenery, which has resulted in a sprawling spread of one of the best gardens in the city. Due thought has gone in with the provision of a sprinkler system for watering the plants. A towering statue of Lord Shiva instils a sense of calm and serenity to the place.

Four manual pyre platforms for traditional cremation and an area of 2.5 acre of land for those who believe in burial are also part of the campus. A visitors’ gallery, a place to perform the rituals, shower rooms and an office room complete the campus establishment. An icebox facility for the overnight preservation of the body where relatives have to arrive from far off places to take part in the last rites and about 240 lockers to store the ashes so that they may be immersed at various holy rivers according to the family’s customs are also included. An ambulance with a 24-hour service is also provided to transport the dead person to the crematorium. While it runs free for the poor, the services are offered at a nominal cost for the others. Free cremations and burials are also undertaken for the orphan bodies found abandoned on the streets or at the general hospital. The trust has cremated 60 such dead bodies since the crematorium became functional.

The perseverance and compassion of the Rotarians thus saw the transformation of a virtual dump yard into a serene and exceptional last post for the dead. Rotarians realise the full impact of Rotary in times such as this where the organisation gives enormous opportunities to serve the world in unimaginable modes. Rotary is the catalyst, the transformer that motivates and inspires people for such selfless service and the Rotarians are the effective messengers who brighten the lives of the downtrodden and build a warm heart in people to develop noble qualities.

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