There is no dignity in death. This is the first thought that crossed Varun Jain's mind when his family had to wait for over five hours to get his grandfather cremated.
This was at Delhi's Nigambodh ghat. The ghat has six CNG furnaces for a cleaner, cheaper and quicker cremation. Sadly most of the furnaces have not been functioning since 2006.
For Varun’s family, the tragedy turned more painful as only one furnace was working on that day. So a cremation, which according to Hindu custom is supposed to be done before sunset, took place at 8:30pm. Worse, two more families waiting to cremate their loved ones. “It was horrifying. Bodies lined up for hours as families go through more agony,” he said.
This drove Varun to make a video and sent it to CNN-IBN, hoping to expose mismanagement.
He then turned Citizen Journalist on CNN-IBN. During the course of the probe, CNN-IBN stumbled upon a nexus between the wood mafia and MCD. A traditional cremation requires wood, which can cost up to Rs 3,000. Fully operational CNG furnaces would mean a loss in business for timber merchants.
Meanwhile, MCD chairman denied the nexus. Later, he offered an excuse saying that they did not have the technical know how of furnaces.
“Is it our fault that the MCD is not capable of handling the problems?,” asks Varun.