The government action came a day after a van belonging to elder care centre was found carrying a dead body with bags of vegetables along with two aged persons, in Salaivakkam in Kancheepuram on Tuesday afternoon.
Sources said the officials advised the management of the hospices to adopt age-old burial process for disposing the bodies than concrete vaults. But the elder care centre managers were not ready to accept it because they felt vault was more cost-effective.
The officials began to question Father Thomas, founder of the St. Joseph hospice, and the other officials of the old age home which went on for five hours.
The managers of the home admitted that it was mistake to transport the body with the vegetables and two aged people. “We have done nothing wrong. Our motive is to give shelter to the people who are being left alone, and those who are mentally ill and the people affected with diseases. We will provide them everything that they need and make them feel home,” claimed a staff.
Speaking to DTNext, RDO Raju said officials from various departments collected details to check if there were any violations that came under their jurisdiction. No case has been registered so far, said officials, adding that it would depend on finding out if there were any violations. He also hinted that there was a plan to shift the inmates from the homes.
“Once we get the report we would consider it. It is a long process. Action will be taken against them for sure, but we have to wait,” he added. Meanwhile, as the news about the functioning of St Joseph Hospices started spreading through media, many people from various places around Chennai began visiting the place to check whether their missing family member was present here.
A couple from Peerkankaranai came in search of their son Prakash (24), who had gone missing eight months ago. Ramesh from Chennai came in search of his 74-year-old father, who went missing some months ago. Many people raised questions about the vault burial system, suspecting that the bones of the deceased were being sold abroad.
However, denying this, the hospice founder, Father Thomas said the system of burial in vaults was the most effective way to decompose the body, which is being followed at around 200 places in Kerala.
Bodies kept inside the concrete vault would decompose within three to four months’ time. Then, the bones would be dumped in a 25-feet pit. These bones would be cleared only after 40 years – after the underground space runs out. According to him, all bones were still buried underground, as the system was started only six years ago.
Woman inmate does not remember how she landed at hospice
Kamakshi, one of the inmates who had joined the hospice five months ago, said her husband had admitted her at the Stanley hospital for treatment. Though speaking clearly while answering questions from the media, she could not remember how she landed up at the hospice.
The woman from Villupuram suspected her husband of dumping her at the home. “I don’t know what happened to my husband and how I came here,” she said, not hiding her anger at the man.
A daily wager before coming here, Kamakshi said she was ready to return home any time they let her leave. “Even now if anyone drop me by Tambaram and give me Rs 150, I will go home,” she said.