Corporation forced to hike rate of cremation in gas-fired crematorium

The rise in LPG prices has left no aspect of life – and death – untouched with cremation at the gas-based crematorium of Kochi Corporation at Ravipuram getting costlier with the recent surge in the price of non-subsidised LPG cylinders.

Corporation was forced to hike the rate of a cremation from Rs. 2,300 to Rs. 3,000 on January 10 after the surge in the price Of LPG cylinders used for commercial purposes.

“The hike was necessary to cover the cost of operations following gas price hike,” Soumini Jain, chairperson of the corporation’s Works Standing Committee, said.

The electrical crematorium was upgraded into a gas-based one jointly by the Rotary Club and the Kochi Corporation. It offers both gas- and firewood-based cremation. The charge for both types of cremations was Rs. 2,300 before the hike necessitated an increase in the charge for gas-fired cremation. Forty-six cremations were conducted using gas since the renovated crematorium was opened in July last year.

The furnace is powered using eight cylinders while an equal number of cylinders are kept in stock.

“Commercial cylinders weighing 19 kg are being used at the crematorium. A cylinder was bought last week for Rs. 2,500, an increase from about Rs. 1,800,” said Chandran, caretaker for the crematorium.

The volume of gas taken for cremating a body varies in proportion to the gap between cremations. While it takes on an average 14-15 kg if bodies are cremated in succession and the furnace is kept hot, more gas will be spent if there are long gaps between cremations.

Chandran said that though people who arrive with the bodies are told about the availability of gas-based cremation, those who are particular about following religious rituals prefer the conventional method of cremation using firewood.

P. Ramachandran, the general secretary of Ernakulam Karayogam, said gas-based cremation would now have even fewer takers with the increase in charges. “People would be hesitant to use the gas-based cremation as it’s a relatively new concept here. Hence the corporation should have taken the lead in popularising it by making available subsidised LPG by leveraging its influence with the government,” he said.

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