Sanjeev K. Sharma
JAMMU, July 7: As the only electrical crematorium in J&K at Jogi Gate here, is lying non-functional for the last nine years, Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) is planning four new in the city.
“JMC is planning four electrical crematoriums in Jammu city with one at Jogi Gate, another at Channi, Shastri Nagar and Shakti Nagar cremation grounds,” JMC Mayor, Chander Mohan Gupta informed adding that a proposal for the same will soon be made and be forwarded to the Government of India.
On the existing non-functional electrical crematorium at Jogi Gate, he claimed that the same cannot be repaired as it is very old.
Meanwhile, reliable sources in JMC informed that offers for electrical and LPG based crematoriums for four cremation grounds—Jogi Gate, Channi, Shastri Nagar and Shakti Nagar cremation grounds in Jammu city have been invited by the electrical wing of JMC.
“The LPG based cremation system can be installed at Jogi Gate cremation ground along with the electrical one as there is enough space there for the both,” they informed adding that after finalizing of all the conditions e-tendering for the work will be done.
Experts opined that LPG based crematorium is expected to work better than electrical one as there always remains a problem of proper power supply in Jammu.
On the existing electrical crematorium sources informed that it can’t be repaired because its coils and other parts are damaged beyond repair.
“The existing electrical crematorium was made by JMC in the year 1974 but it started functioning only in 1994-95 with only a few dead bodies got cremated using it,” they said adding that a Gujarat based company with the name M/s Hindustan Brown Boveri Ltd had installed the electrical crematorium at Jogi Gate at a cost of Rs 56.84 lakh at that time which included cost of approach road, towers, feeder line etc.
“The electrical furnace with cost of Rs 15.06 lakh was purchased and installed by Power Development Department (PDD) which handed it over to JMC for operation,” the sources informed.
“PDD had also trained some JMC personnel on the operation and maintenance of the electrical crematorium,” the sources continued.
“JMC handed over the electrical crematorium to Seva Samiti as per minutes of meeting on November 30, 1994 and the first dead body cremated with it was on December 15, 1994 and it was an unclaimed body brought by the police,” they said.
A source at Jogi Gate informed that the electrical crematorium was stopped in the year 2011 after it developed some technical snag.
He further claimed that about 150 dead bodies, mostly unclaimed, were cremated at the electrical crematorium and the public at large does not prefer to cremate bodies of their dear ones at the electrical crematorium and preferred a pyre for the purpose.
“The company that had installed the electrical crematorium at Jogi Gate had stationed its engineer there for maintenance and operation of the crematorium but he (engineer) returned after almost no dead bodies were cremated electrically,” the source maintained adding, after the dead bodies got cremated electrically, bones were left along with a little smoke and no foul smell is produced, as thought by some people.
Joginder Sharma, Manager Seva Samiti claimed that Seva Samiti had contributed Rs. 10 lakh for the electrical crematorium while the remaining amount was paid by JMC.
He also said that the electrical crematorium started functioning in the year 1995 and among prominent deceased cremated electrically included daughter and wife of an IAS officer then posted at J&K.
“Cremations continued at Jogi Gate electrically till the year 2011. As the machine was rarely used owing to lack of public preference, same lowered its efficiency and it started consuming more time in completing a cremation and low voltage too added to this,” Sharma informed.
He further said, consequently the crematorium developed some technical snag and the company which had installed it was contacted.
“The company sent an engineer who corrected the snag after we sent them a draft of Rs. 25,000,” Sharma claimed adding that the machine again got snag and the company further demanded Rs. 25,000 but Sewa Samiti was not in a position to bear such heavy costs so the snag remained unattended.
He also said, for cremation at Jogi Gate using pyre of wood one has to pay to the Forest department but electrical cremation remained totally free of cost.
Sanjeev K. Sharma