For pets, MCD's crematorium in Dwarka likely by April

Mar 16, 2023 05:29 AM IST

The NGO overseeing the implementation of the project, Green Revolution Foundation, is also developing a memorial garden for pets called Furry Friends Forever, the officials said.

The wait for the city’s first municipal pet crematorium, coming up on a 700-square-metre site in Sector 29, Dwarka, will likely be over by April-end, according to officials directly involved with the project. The facility is coming up inside a four-acre “dog complex” that already houses a sterilisation centre.

Representational Image
Representational Image

The NGO overseeing the implementation of the project, Green Revolution Foundation, is also developing a memorial garden for pets called Furry Friends Forever, the officials cited above said.

A senior official from the veterinary department of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi said that the rest of the components of the crematorium are ready, the current delay is due to process of laying the CNG pipeline for the facility.

Almost half of the gas pipeline required for the CNG crematorium facility has already been laid, officials said.

“The crematorium has two CNG furnaces with a 200kg and a 150kg biomass capacity each. Initially, we faced problems in securing permission to cut the road to lay the pipeline but the project is back on track,” the official said. An Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) official that the work was going on.

The municipal corporation has already fixed cremation rates at 2,000 for animals that weigh less than 30kg and 3,000 those weighing more than 30kg. At present in Delhi, there are around half a dozen private operators providing cremation facilities for pets. The rates vary based on the weight/size of the animal, transportation services, communal or private cremation as well as the method of cremation – traditional, electric or CNG cremation. HT reached out to several of these units. The cost for a dog weighing 25kg is between 6000- 7000 for a traditional pyre-method while the electric furnace could cost between 9000- 10,000. For animals that weigh less than 15kg, the rates are around 5000. For unclaimed dead animals and carcasses, the civic body also runs an animal rendering plant near Ghazipur slaughterhouse.

Sahib Sawhney, head of Green Revolution Foundation, the NGO overseeing the project, said they have worked on several human crematoriums in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Karnataka, but this is their first project for pets.

“Last year, we started a plantation for the pet memorial garden named Furry Friends Forever. Pet parents can plant a tree which will be named after their pet. We are just waiting for the pipeline work to be complete. A 3km-long pipeline is to be laid and half of the work has been completed,” Sawhney said.

The crematorium complex will have a green belt in its periphery, an ash storage facility, and a prayer room with a priest. “A bathing unit has also been earmarked. A priest will carry out the rituals. As per our estimate, we will be able to cater to 10 private pets and 15 small stray animals in a day,” Sawhney added. Each cremation cycle is likely to take 30 minutes to an hour.

Pawan Kumar, who helps runs a dog shelter for community dogs in Saket, said that they face several problems in finding a dignified way to lay down deceased dogs. “We usually bury them in an empty plot near the shelter. A crematorium which is not expensive can help a lot in providing a more suitable method for pet lovers. MCD should come up with more such units across the city. Dwarka unit may be located too far for most of the city residents,” he said.

“The project was first conceptualised in 2018 by the erstwhile south Delhi corporation, and is being executed in a public–private partnership mode with the entire cost of construction, upkeep, and maintenance being taken up by the NGO. As part of the agreement, the corporation has allotted land for the cremation centre but will retain its ownership,” a second MCD official said.

While the corporation initially planned to set up a dogs-only crematorium, the project has been expanded to include other small animals such as cats, goats, sheep, and monkeys.

Nidhi Sharma, a resident of East Kidwai Nagar and an animal lover, said that the idea of building a government facility for pet cremation is excellent but we need such more units in the city. “We have a few private crematoriums but their charges are very high and the rates are above 5,000. Pet parents would love to lay their pets down in a dignified way and in the absence of affordable facilities, many bury their pets with layer of salt and turmeric,” Sharma said. She added that one Dwarka unit may not be enough and such units should be built in 15-20km radius across the city.

Mahak Juneja, another dog lover from RK Puram, said that the idea was long overdue. “In a city of this size, we should have had a pet crematorium much earlier. The rates at private crematoriums are very high and more such units could help pet parents deal with their loss in a dignified way,” Juneja said.

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