Government to seek seers' nod for 'green cremations' on Ganga banks | india | Hindustan Times
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Government to seek seers' nod for 'green cremations' on Ganga banks

Days after the Centre constituted a committee to recommend technologies to unclog the river Ganga, union minister Uma Bharti said on Friday that religious sentiments would not be tinkered with while implementing eco-friendly cremations. Poll: Should electric cremations replace traditional pyres at Ganga's holy ghats?

india Updated: Oct 01, 2014 23:23 IST

Days after the Centre constituted a committee to recommend technologies to unclog the river Ganga, union minister Uma Bharti said on Friday that religious sentiments would not be tinkered with while implementing eco-friendly cremations.

The minister said approvals of Hindu holy men would be sought before using technology to curb pollution on the banks of the holy river.

Bharti, the union water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister said holy men have supported the idea to ‘go green’ and have assured her that they will accept any technology which the government deems fit to reduce pollution.

“There is lot of needless speculation, but I wish to make it clear that we don’t plan to tinker with religious beliefs and practices,” said Bharti.

“Any decision won’t be taken without the approval of the saints.”

Read: Broom with a view: Why we need Clean India campaign

Several Hindus prefer to get cremated on the banks of river Ganga on ghats of Varanasi and Haridwar for salvation.

Cremation grounds are usually close to bank of the river Ganga and contents used in cremation are often dumped into the river contributing to its clogging.

Though eco-friendly cow-dung funeral pyres have been spotted in Lucknow, most of them were individual efforts, said environmentalists.

“I have seen such cremations happen in Lucknow and this only goes to prove that slowly realization is spreading about the need to keep the rivers clean,” said VK Joshi, a Lucknow-based environmentalist.

Joshi agrees with the minister on the need to build a consensus with stakeholders.

“It’s true that despite green cremation being a well-intentioned move…you do need to take religious feelings on the account,” he said.

“So it’s important to build up a consensus on the subject.”