Sunday, Oct 26, 2014

Electric crematorium installed 8 yrs ago waits for electricity connection

Electronic crematorium lying closed in Ludhiana. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh) Electronic crematorium lying closed in Ludhiana. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)
Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Posted: August 7, 2014 6:37 am | Updated: August 7, 2014 1:06 pm

Running successfully in cities such as Chandigarh and Delhi, Ludhiana too tried to adopt the concept of cremating dead bodies electrically but the experiment has turned out to be a disaster with the Municipal Corporation making no efforts to revive an electric crematorium installed around eight years back.

The lone electric crematorium was installed at Daresi cremation ground and till date not a single dead body has been cremated in it.

Neither it is having a running electricity connection nor MC ever showed interest in revamping the venture. Sandeep Aggarwal, vice-president of Shree Sanatan Dharam Sabha told Newsline, “The machine was installed after initiative of Ludhiana MC at the cost of around Rs 50 lakh. Our society manages the Daresi cremation ground and at that time it was decided MC will pay the electricity bill and we will maintain the machine. However, after that MC blatantly refused to pay bills saying that it cannot afford it due to lack of funds.”

He added that ‘society wants MC to revive the machine.’ The proposal was even put before deputy commissioner and MC commissioner recently to bring all unidentified bodies in city for electronic cremation. “Government gives money for cremating unidentified bodies and we proposed that similar money can be given to us for running the machine. It will solve both purposes: machine will run and unidentified bodies will be cremated. Few days back MC electrician came to check machine and found that electricity connection is disconnected and machine did not start at all,” said Aggarwal. The step was taken to reduce pollution and usage of firewood. On an average, 300 kg of wood is used to cremate one body. “We take Rs 2,400 for cremating per body and it also leads to pollution and axing of trees for wood. If machine is used, the electricity bill comes out to be Rs 1 lakh on monthly basis but it can be recovered if a rate is fixed and MC agrees to pay bill,” said Aggarwal.

Meanwhile, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said that ‘there are no funds to run the machine.’ “As of now there is no proposal to start the machine as there are no funds,” he told Newsline.

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