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Anger as grave prices soar by €3,000

Supply is not enough to meet demand

The extension is to cost €18 million. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The extension is to cost €18 million. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The price of a grave at the Addolorata Cemetery has increased from €5,000 to €8,000, much to the bemusement of those who have been on the waiting list since the 1990s.

They complain it is unfair that those who did not sign a promise of sale agreement before 2013 have to fork out an extra €3,000.

They wondered whether the rise was due to the fact that the government had opted for a public-private partnership to extend the cemetery rather than do the work itself.

A spokeswoman for the Health Ministry said the €8,000 price tag was set through a legal notice issued last December amending a previous one of 2012.

However, she did not say what caused the price increase.

Health Minister Chris Fearne announced last month that five consortia had expressed interest in a call for the restoration and extension of the cemetery.

The chosen consortium would run Addolorata for 15 years and would have to invest a minimum of €6 million in restoration works.

The entire project is estimated to cost about €18 million, two-thirds of it for the extension.

The government started sending letters last month to about 4,000 people who have been waiting for a grave for 22 years, inviting them to sign a promise of sale agreement now that 2,880 graves are available. However, the supply is not enough to meet the demand.

"Had I known that the price was going to increase that much, I would have pulled some strings, but now I have no option: I either pay €3,000 more or else remain without a grave," one angry man said.

Another felt it was "very unfair" that the price had been raised without an explanation.

The site of the new extension proposed, located in an area known as Tal-Ħorr, abuts the existing cemetery at the southern flank and has, for years, been subject to extensive rubbish dumping.

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