Unable to afford the electricity charges, Shree Sanatan Dharam Sabha, which runs the cremation ground at Daresi, is unable to utilise the electric crematorium installed at a cost of Rs 50 lakh eight years ago.
In a bid to save firewood and help maintain the city’s green cover, besides preventing air pollution, the electric crematorium was installed by the municipal corporation (MC) after getting funds from an MLA.
However, sources said the MC washed its hands of paying for the electricity, after noticing the electricity consumed during a test run.
As result, the crematorium, despite having been installed at a huge cost, lies unused for years.
Meanwhile, bodies continue to be cremated using nearly 300kg of firewood every time, which not only depletes the green cover, but also produces tonnes of polluting gases.
The process costs around Rs 3,000. At least 2-3 bodies are cremated at the crematorium daily, taking the number to around 60 a month, and the amount of firewood used to 18,000kg.
Therefore, members of the Shree Sanatan Dharam Sabha are seeking MC’s support again to start this system at the earliest.
They have also proposed before the MC that all unidentified bodies should be cremated at the electric crematorium, and for this, funds provided by the government for cremation of unidentified persons can be used.
According to sources, the monthly expense of the electric crematorium would be around Rs 1.5 lakh.
“We met local bodies minister Anil Joshi recently to run this electric crematorium, which has not been used for the past eight years,” said Pawan Garg, executive member of the sabha.
Sabha vice-president Sandeep Agarwal said, “We need the support of the civic body to pay the electricity charges. We have also met the MC officials concerned regarding this and proposed that they at least start cremating the unidentified bodies here.”
Satish Thaman of the District Ludhiana West Sub-Division Grievances Redressal Committee, said, “I raised this matter in front of the MC commissioner during the Sangat Darshan on Tuesday. But in vain. It is unfortunate that the system is not being used despite its several advantages.”
When contacted, SP Singh, superintending engineer, MC, said, “We installed the electric crematorium using funds provided by an MLA. Now, it’s responsibility of the organisation, which takes care of this facility, and they have to pay electricity charges on their own.”
A similar electric crematorium is functional at Sector 25. Chandigarh.
The local MC maintains the facility at a cost of around 1 lakh per month and charges Rs 30 for each cremation.