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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Gurgaon: Six years since it was built, lone CNG crematorium yet to see a funeral

In a city that sees rising pollution levels every year, officials estimate that CNG cremations cause significantly less pollution and are cheaper.

Written by Sakshi Dayal | New Delhi | Published: May 21, 2018 2:55:27 am
The facility in Phase III was built in 2012 at a cost of Rs 86 lakh by the MCG. (Photo by Manoj Kumar)

Six years after it was constructed by the civic body at a cost of Rs 86 lakh, Gurgaon’s only CNG crematorium lies unused with not a single body being cremated so far, said officials. While civic body officials attributed the lack of use of the services to residents continuing to prefer the traditional method of cremation, sources on the ground revealed that a dearth of CNG cylinders is the problem.

“There aren’t too many takers… but every three-four months, some people do come, wanting to cremate their loved ones using this service. However, they have to be turned away because no CNG cylinders have been provided to run the service,” said a source on condition of anonymity. “Cylinders are provided whenever officials are expected to visit, but those run out in just showing them how the system works,” the source added.

Located in Gurgaon’s Phase III, the crematorium also gives people the option of doing traditional cremations in an open area. On a hot afternoon earlier this week, however, this was the only facility being used. The air in the premises was thick with smoke as a pyre burnt quietly in a corner. A shed located near the entrance housed piles of wood. The room that houses the CNG cremation facility, meanwhile, remained locked.

In a city that sees rising pollution levels every year, officials estimate that CNG cremations cause significantly less pollution and are cheaper. A CNG cremation costs around Rs 500, as opposed to traditional cremations where each quintal of wood costs Rs 1,000. “It takes three-four quintals of wood to burn a body, bringing the total cost to Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000,” said an official.

Moreover, while burning a body using wood can take up to 10-12 hours, a CNG cremation would turn the body to ashes within an hour. While officials from the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram admitted that CNG cylinders have not been supplied, they said this was due to a dearth of takers for the service itself.

“Residents have not shown an inclination towards using the service, which is why CNG cylinders are not kept in stock as of now. They prefer to cremate their relatives using wood,” said Yashpal Yadav, MCG commissioner. “However, we will be looking into this, and will attempt to motivate people to use the CNG crematorium. If we have such a facility, it must be put to use.We will see how this can be done,” he added.

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