Pet cemetery runs out of space, to get an incinerator soon

Two-and-a-half years after it was set up, Pune's only pet cemetery, the resting place for over 1,000 pets, has decided to go eco-friendly. The civic administration plans to set up an incinerator on the premises.

Located on 20 gunthas at Nehrunagar in Pimpri-Chinchwad, the pet cemetery is the first set up by a civic body in the country. Families are allowed to perform a ritual for their pet similar to the last rites performed for humans. The families are even issued death certificates.

Shivpad Ray and family, from Baner, cremated their dog — a German Shepherd — last week. It was the 1076th burial at the cemetery. "The cemetery staff members do their best to ensure that families get to bid farewell to their pets in the way they want," said Ray.

Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) veterinary chief Dr Satish Gore said an incinerator would be installed on the cemetery premises soon to make it environment-friendly. "The move will also help us to carry out the maximum number of burials, as we have completely run out of space."

There are other problems as well. The veterinary department, which had planned to give the cemetery a makeover, has made no headway in last two years. As a result, the cemetery lacks several facilities like a proper garden, water, seating arrangements and a compound wall. "They had promised that families would be allowed to set up memorial stones for their pets, but nothing has happened," said civic activist Suresh Pujari of Pradhikaran.

Dr Gore said they plan to introduce an "adoption plan" so that people can contribute funds for setting up memorial stones. "The memorial stone plan will materialise soon," he promised.

Municipal commissioner Asheesh Sharma said he would personally visit the cemetery in a couple of days to take stock of the situation. "I will push for a makeover," he said. The civic chief had made a similar promise last year.

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