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Chitlapakkam gas-fired crematorium from April 1

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Assessment: Officials inspect the wood gas-fired crematorium in Chitlapakkam town panchayat that is scheduled to be opened soon. —
Assessment: Officials inspect the wood gas-fired crematorium in Chitlapakkam town panchayat that is scheduled to be opened soon. —

Special Correspondent

It is first among 561 town panchayats where the facility is to be executed with government funds

CHENNAI: A wood gas-fired crematorium in Chitlapakkam town panchayat near Tambaram has been completed, tested and it will start functioning from April 1. Chitlapakkam is the first among 561 town panchayats in Tamil Nadu where the Rs.44-lakh facility is to be executed with government funds.

The State government gave a grant of Rs.33 lakh while the remaining cost was met by the Chitlapakkam town panchayat from its general funds. The State government has also decided to entrust the responsibility of the facility’s maintenance to Chromepet-based Shree Gayethri Trust, a voluntary organisation.

R. Mohan, president of the urban local body, said that the maintenance of the gasifier had been handed over to the voluntary organisation on a trial basis.

“We have invested Rs.11 lakh in this project, not with the objective of augmenting our panchayat’s income but a service that would benefit residents of Chitlapakkam, Sembakkam, East Tambaram and Selaiyur,” he told reporters on Tuesday when officials and engineers of the town panchayat and office-bearers of the Trust made a visit to the gasifier.

The engineers said that a similar facility was already in place in Periyanaickanpalayam in Coimbatore district, but was sponsored by a private firm and hence the one in Chitlapakkam earned the distinction of being the first wood gas-fired crematorium among town panchayats to be built with government funds.

Two others — in Oddanchathiram in Dindigul district and Tiruchendur in Tuticorin district — were nearing completion.

The Gayethri Trust had been involved in humanitarian activities to help relatives of the dead, especially those from poor families and in cremating unclaimed bodies piling up at Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet.

R. Mathrubutham, trustee, said that they did not look at the experiment as a profit-making venture.

The Trust was run solely on donations from philanthropic organisations and the objective was to provide service to people in distress at the loss of their kin. The Trust would also be sponsoring a Rs.3.5-lakh diesel generator.

G. Raghavan, managing trustee, said that they would be collecting Rs.900 for every cremation of which Rs.100 would be given to the town panchayat.

The entire process would be transparent and there was no scope for fleecing or harassing relatives. Engineers said that the crematorium was provided with adequate support facilities and the chimney was 100-foot tall to prevent inconvenience to residents in the neighbourhood.

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