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Wood gas-fired crematoriums, a convenient choice

T. MADHAVAN
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Facility: Ambattur gasifier crematorium has become operational now, thanks to the efforts of the Municipal Administration Department. Photo: T. Madhavan
Facility: Ambattur gasifier crematorium has become operational now, thanks to the efforts of the Municipal Administration Department. Photo: T. Madhavan

Ambattur gasifier facility, constructed at a cost of Rs.65 lakhs, has started its operations at Vanagaram Road from August 15. This has been a long-felt demand of residents of Ambattur Municipality. At present, the crematorium with one unit of gasifier facility constructed in about 5000 square feet, receives about two to three corpses per day.

This first wood gas-fired crematorium in the Ambattur Municipality was commissioned in the presence of Villivakkam MLA B. Ranganathan and Ambattur Municipal Chairman K.N. Sekar. Since then, similar facilities, also known as ‘gasifiers', were set up in Alandur and Pallavaram.

Though administrative and technical sanction were accorded in June 2007, and tenders were called for then, it took three years for the work to be completed, activists lamented.

Trouble free

Wood gas-fired crematoriums have become the convenient choice for administrators of urban local bodies. The Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply have decided to replace conventional cremation methods, owing to the comparatively lesser costs incurred for burning of bodies.

The cost of operating the facility is also cost effective. Compared to the conventional method of cremation that required 300 and 500 kg of firewood, gasifiers require less than half the quantum of wood. Here, uniformly chopped wood chips are continuously burnt in a high temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius and gas from this furnace is directed to a chamber, where an electrical spark ignites a fire to burn the bodies.

The time taken for completing the cremation of each body is saved and so is the use of firewood, said an official of Ambattur Municipality. Locating land for the purpose is also hassle-free, as they can be used in the existing cremation grounds itself. However, the most important benefit that residents gain is that it leaves no room for cheating.

Charges were fixed after a resolution passed by the local body's council. Receipts are issued and the scope for corruption is ruled out. And trained undertakers work in comparatively better working conditions.

The maintenance of this facility at Ambattur has been entrusted to Vaikundam Trust, Ambattur.

Speaking to Downtown, the Managing Trustee of the Trust, Amba Shankar explained that those who want to make use of the facility will have to pay Rs. 1, 250 by cheque/cash and take a receipt. It covers the expenses for the mortuary van, two of which are available. He added that a second unit of gasifier is also being planned. Municipal officials said that the second unit would be commissioned, if the demand goes up. Those who want to utilise the facilities at this crematorium may call 6555 6526 / 2624 5343.

T. MADHAVAN

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