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Crematorium turns scrap

A body had to be removed halfway through cremation, as the power went off in 2010. No doubt, it was the last body to be cremated at Harmu Muktidham in Ranchi.

Three years down the line, the death knell has been sounded for Ranchi’s sole electric crematorium with a joint technical team of Alltech Enterprises from Allahabad and experts from Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) raising questions regarding the basic design of the furnace.

In the report that the team submitted early this month to the civic guardians, experts argued that the technology used was outdated.

“There is little scope for technical uplift or renovation of the crematorium,” said deputy CEO of RMC Shailendra Lal, implying it had turned into scrap. “Even if we attempt partial repairs, it will cost something around Rs 1 crore to 1.5 crore. We don’t know what to do with it now.”

The team has raised at least 12 technical points to show that the crematorium does not follow Central Pollution Control Board guidelines.

To begin with, the wires, or heating elements, of the furnace have been left open. Besides, there is no scope for double combustion.

“The furnace is defunct. It is not possible to make it operational only through some minor amendments, as the basic structure is faulty,” reads the report.

Even the chamber of the existing furnace is not properly sealed and insulated. This results in emission of smoke, fumes. The temperature also reduces due to radiation and foul smell emanates during combustion.

The ash collection door is also not of proper dimension. Thus, there is every chance that it may get choked if five to eight bodies are cremated in a row.

The air pollution control device installed is not of requisite configuration and is not capable of treating the smoke and fume generated from the furnace.

In the absence of a reservoir, water required for treating smoke and fume cannot be stored. Besides, there is no collection tank to contain the waste settling down after treatment of smoke in the air pollution control device.

An RMC technician, who was part of the inspection team, said on condition of anonymity, “It looks like the company that installed the crematorium used scrap material dismantled from some other outdated one.”

In any case, the electric crematorium has hardly been used. Only 11 bodies have been cremated there in the last five years.

Capital residents are left with no choice other than cremating bodies in the open.

The district administration woke up to the need for an electric crematorium after Jharkhand High Court, while hearing a PIL filed by one Dhananjay Kumar Dubey, directed the state government to construct one in 2000.

After initial glitches and land disputes, Ranchi Regional Development Authority formally started construction work in 2002.

A private firm, Font System, was roped in three years later and construction was completed in 2007 with a total cost of Rs 3 crore.

The facility became functional in 2008.