Coconut shells from Coimbatore to help burn bodies at Varanasi

The initiative ‘Kasi Pasumai Yatra’ aims to reduce the usage of wood in funeral pyres

Updated - July 12, 2016 05:34 am IST

Published - July 12, 2016 12:00 am IST - COIMBATORE:

Green initiative:Corporation Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan (fourth right) and Kavidasan (third left), Director of Roots Industries, launching the ‘Kasi Pasumai Yatra’ initiative at a function held in the city on Monday.- Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Green initiative:Corporation Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan (fourth right) and Kavidasan (third left), Director of Roots Industries, launching the ‘Kasi Pasumai Yatra’ initiative at a function held in the city on Monday.- Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Kasi Pasumai Yatra – an initiative to end the dependence on wood for burning dead bodies along the banks of River Ganga in Varanasi, began here on Monday.

Under the initiative, coconut shells collected from garbage heaps will be powdered, packed and sent to Varanasi to be used in funeral pyres. N. Nithyanandam, the organiser of ‘Kasi Pasumai Yatra’, has spent Rs. 35 lakh for the process.

Mr. Nithyanandam and his crew of 14 members went to Varanasi 12 times and studied the usage of woods for burning bodies. Conservative estimates indicated that every year 5 lakh trees were axed to burn bodies. The trees are sourced from nearby areas.

On an average 400 dead bodies are burnt along River Ganga every day. To burn a body, close to 350 kg of wood is required and per day requirement stands at 240 tonnes. Mr. Nithyanandam says that the consumption of wood to burn bodies can be reduced by using coconut shell. The collected coconut shells are powdered using a machine. About 50 kg of coconut shell saves 300 kg of wood for one body.

He and his crew have decided to send 140 tonnes of coconut shell powder to Varanasi to begin with. It could help in burning as many as 2,800 dead bodies and could help save 840 tonnes of wood for which 2,400 trees need to be axed.

Launching the initiative, Corporation Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan exhorted the local community, youngsters and students to come forward and lend their helping hand for a socially conscious project that could leave behind a better ecology for the future generations.

In order to promote the event he distributed around 30 saplings to the students of Sri Venkatalakshmi Matriculation Higher Secondary School.

Once they get official permission and no-objection certificate, first eight truckloads of powdered coconut shells would leave for Varanasi from Coimbatore in a couple of days, the organisers said.

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