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HindustanTimes Fri,21 Nov 2014

For UK Hindus, River Soar is their 'Ganga'

Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times  London, February 05, 2014
First Published: 01:18 IST(5/2/2014) | Last Updated: 01:39 IST(5/2/2014)

Officials in the east Midlands city of Leicester have designated a quiet, leafy spot on the River Soar where, instead of travelling to India, members of the city’s large community of Indian origin can scatter ashes of the deceased.

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The spot, near the National Space Centre, has been identified by the Leicester City Council and the Environment Agency following calls for such a facility locally from the city’s Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities.

Residents of Leicester say it is often difficult for people to go to Hardwar or Varanasi to scatter the ashes, due to the cost and travel problems faced by older family members.

The spot behind the National Space Centre has a sturdy platform in place, with good level access from a well-made path and handrails leading to the water’s edge, Leicester City Council sources told HT. There will be no charge to use the facility.

The discrete spot is also surrounded by trees and shrubs, is low down to the water’s edge and is at a point in the river where ashes can be dispersed easily by the water.

It is also away from any angling clubs, boating clubs or other organisations which use the river, they said.

Leicester assistant city mayor for culture, heritage, leisure and sport, councillor Piara Singh Clair, said, “Local faith group leaders have been asking us for some time for a suitable site on the River Soar in Leicester for scattering ashes, and following work with the Environment Agency we’ve identified this location”.

He added, “It meets many of the requirements in terms of being a discrete, quiet spot suitable for such a ceremony, but is also easily accessible and safe for people to use”.

A spokesperson of the Environment Agency said: “Ashes have little impact on water quality, but other items should not be placed in water with them. Wreaths can contain metal or plastic which can cause litter or harm wildlife.”


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