The expenditure incurred on installing two LPG crematoria seems to have gone down the drain, while environmental concerns such as felling of trees, pollution and its resultant adverse impact on the environment and human health, have started to raise their ugly heads with the Amritsar District Administration and the Amritsar Municipal Corporation ignoring the use of these facilities.
The crematoria-one at the cremation ground of Gurudwara Shaheedan and another at the crematorium of Durgiana Temple- in questioned were commissioned two years ago on the intervention of various NGOs dealing with environmental affairs, who outlined various ravages of the traditional means of cremation on the human health, environment and economy. The machines worth Rs 25 lakhs, which were installed after overcoming several hassles, are hardly used.
This is regardless of the fact that time and again the environmental NGOs had apprised the MC authorities and public of the benefits of using an LPG crematorium. Dr R S Pannu, a physician from the city, who has been associated with the installation of these crematoria, said that there were many factors that were pushing this system towards failure.
“The major lack of interest is from the district administration. Besides this, old employees of cremation grounds too pose obstacles. As the whole system is commission based-from the purchase of wood, material (saamagree) including ghee and other rituals are corruption ridden. Any new system will impinge on their earnings,” he said. He added that superstitions of the public too were posing a bane for the new technology.
According to Dr Pannu, with the steady increase in the population of the city and in view of its
status as the holy city, the need of the hour is to adopt more hygienic, public friendly, quick and hassle-free mode of disposing of dead bodies, like the gas based crematoria. Terming pollution a great health hazard, a slow poison affecting all human organs, he said that the same could be avoided by resorting environment friendly means of conducting the last rites.
“For cremating one body, firewood of five grown up trees is needed. Whereas LPG crematoria are a much better and economical means of cremating corpses,” he said. He added that the magnitude of pollution that was being caused and could be avoided was evident from the fact that more than 25 bodies are cremated at each ground per day.
However, when contacted Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora, said that the LPG crematoria were managed by the management of the Gurudwara Shaheedan and Durgiana Temple, in whose crematoria these had been installed. “The MC has nothing to do with their management,” he said.