Rejecting Superstition, Sheila Dikshit Leaves a Message for Her Delhi With CNG Cremation
In a city that sees rising pollution levels every year, CNG cremations are said to cause significantly less pollution and are cheaper.
The three-time chief minister and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit passed away at 81 on July 20 (image: PTI)
New Delhi: Former Delhi chief minister and Congress' stalwart Sheila Dikshit was on Sunday cremated using the CNG method, in compliance with her wish. The concept of CNG to curb pollution was introduced in the national capital by Dikshit during her tenure as CM.
In a city that sees rising pollution levels every year, CNG cremations are said to cause significantly less pollution and are cheaper. However, most of the Delhi residents still prefer the traditional method of cremation, citing it to be against Hindu rituals.
"A person who has lost a parent is so shocked by the death that the thought of protecting the environment doesn't strike him. The relatives around too criticise him if he decides to go for the eco-friendly option, saying he is not ready to spend a little extra money for someone who is dead," news agency IANS had quoted Mokshda director Anshul Garg as saying in a 2018 report.
Mokshda is a nonprofit group in New Delhi that has been campaigning for an environmentally friendly approach to cremation, and had also set up the CNG machine at Nigambodh ghat, where Dikshit was laid to rest.
"We've made several attempts to explain people about the environmental aspect but they refuse to understand. Many of those who sort of agree to resort to the Mokshda method later get influenced by pandits who discourage them from doing so," the superviser at Nigambodh had said, adding the priests do so to make more money.
"People don't wish to go against the tradition," the IANS report quoted Daulat Sharma, head priest at Dayanand Muktidham Crematorium in Nizamuddin West, as saying. He said they are not ready to understand the harms of deforestation as "their religious faith is more important to them".
The situation is same in neighbouring city of Gurugram, where the civic body had constructed a CNG crematorium six years ago at a cost of Rs 86 lakh. However, till last the lone CNG crematorium had not seen a single body been cremated there.
"Residents have not shown an inclination towards using the service, which is why CNG cylinders are not kept in stock as of now. They prefer to cremate their relatives using wood," MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
A CNG cremation costs around Rs 500, as opposed to traditional cremations where each quintal of wood costs Rs 1,000. Moreover, while burning a body using wood can take up to 10-12 hours, a CNG cremation would turn the body to ashes within an hour.
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