August 2, 2011 12:35:31 am
Pilot project to start in Amritsar; pollution board hopes to protect environment,trees
After Keralas success,the Punjab Pollution Control Board has envisaged an ambitious plan to convert states major cremation grounds into LPG-run crematoriums and has started a pilot project at Chatiwind Gate cremation ground.
Less costly and less hazardous,the new system is aimed at providing eco-friendly cremations by checking pollution from wood and saving precious trees.
The civil work is expected to start soon and machinery-fitted with huge burners and smoke controllers will be installed shortly,PPCB Chairman Kahan Singh Pannu said.
He said municipal corporations in major cities will be asked to convert cremation grounds to LPG-run crematoriums,which will partly be funded by the pollution board,with each system costing up to Rs 26 lakh.
The major factor is protecting environment. Burning of wood releases huge amount of carbons in air,causing pollution particularly in congested urban dwellings. Secondly,we will be able to save wood thus saving trees as one cremation requires three quintals of wood,means a full-grown tree, Pannu said.
He said a rough estimates show that on an average 2000 cremations take place in state.
The cremation by wood costs anywhere between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,600 but the new system will bring down the cost by more than half to Rs 500.
Less than one cylinder will be consumed to cremate a body.
Amritsar is the first district in the state where the system will be installed in next two months. A team of environment engineers,doctors and technicians had visited Thiruvananthapuram to study the system working there and it was found conducive and highly appreciable from environment point of view, he said.
Pannu also allayed fears that the bones may perish in the high-powered burners,leading to doubts of carrying on with the convention of collecting last remains for immersing those in running water as per the traditions.
Even this is being taken care of and modifications in the systems installed in Kerala have already been made so that the bones remain intact, he said.
He said PPCB has taken up the matter with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had also shown interest in the project.
The environment experts also propagate installation of the new system saying the pollution level will decline considerably from 60 points to 0 level with controlled burning.
They also said cooperation from municipal corporations was required and public representatives including MLAs and MPs should also come forward to funds the projects,which will first be introduced in major cities including Amritsar,Ludhiana,Patiala,Bathinda and Mohali. They said there were also plans to beautify the cremation grounds by land-scapings,tree plantations and construction of toilets and bathing places.
Rajya Sabha MP and former Union Minister Manohar Singh Gill has already announced Rs 12 lakh grant from his MPLAD funds for the Amritsar project and stated that he will ensure more grants for such a project if set up in his Tarn Taran district.
Lok Sabha MP Navjot Singhjj Sidhu has also announced Rs 4 lakh for the project here.
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