Common cremation grounds for members of all castes will be set up in Punjab as part of efforts to eradicate caste based discrimination, state Scheduled Castes Commission chairman Rajesh Bagha said on Sunday.
He said the state rural development and panchayat department has come out with a plan following recommendation by the commission and also advocated having electric crematoriums.
In a statement in Chandigarh, Bagha said in most of the villages in Punjab, there are separate cremation grounds for each community and these cremation grounds receive monetary grants from governments at regular intervals.
Calling for ending this trend, he said only one common cremation ground should be set up in villages and cities if it can suffice keeping in view the population.
He also said cremation grounds should have facilities for electric cremation as it would reduce environmental pollution and the need for fuel besides saving trees.
Bagha said senior advocate of Punjab and Haryana high court H C Arora had brought this matter to the attention of the commission through an application in which he had stated that steps must be initiated for establishing common cremation grounds in order to get rid of the menace of casteism.
He said the commission had instructed the state rural development and panchayat department, which prepared a plan for constructing common cremation grounds.
He elaborated that the department had also formulated a plan to disburse a grant of Rs 5 lakh per village to those villages who are willing to build common cremation grounds.
He said the commission has now directed the department to modify the plans and include the facility of solar and electric cremation facility as well.
Bagha also said that people face difficulty in performing the last rites of their near and dear ones owing to separate cremation grounds which often lack proper infrastructure.
He said there should be proper arrangement of drinking water, availability of electricity, concretisation of approach roads to the cremation grounds, planting of trees in the cremation grounds, construction of permanent sheds and platforms apart from having facility of solar and electric cremation so that people face no problem in cremating their beloved ones.