In times like these, when the Delhi government is making elaborate plans to cleanse the Yamuna and restore the river to its earlier ecologically relevant self, the municipal corporations of Delhi it seems have forgotten that there exist just a paltry five CNG/electric crematoriums to burn the dead. To make matters worse, corpses according to Hindu traditions are still burned on funeral pyres made of firewood and what’s left of the carcasses then float and get submerged in the river thereby polluting it further.
It is baffling to say the least, that when there is a national thrust on preservation and cleaning of important rivers like the Ganga and the Yamuna, how can the the CNG/electric crematoriums lie in utter neglect and traditional methods of burning the dead be still promoted? Is it the public’s onus to find an operator for a crematorium which has been gathering dust for the past six years for want of someone who can keep it functional? Or if the municipal corporation could also explain that how salary to nearly 50 employees is being paid when the said crematorium at Bela Road, built at an exorbitant Rs two crores has been lying defunct for six years now? Municipal corporations in the meanwhile seem to have decided to stonewall the issue by saying that plans are being made to convert the traditional ones into CNG/ electric soon.
Now isn’t this an apparent dichotomy of sorts and would the Capital’s civil authorities care to explain that how exactly would these new entrants be manned when the existing ones are either lying in a redundant state or haven’t even yet started, as is the case of the CNG crematorium at Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi. With only three centres with four funeral pyres each which have a capacity to burn less than five per cent of bodies on a daily basis, it indeed would be interesting to note when the re-conversion plan will come into effect. Till then, the status quo will have to remain unchanged it seems.