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Crematorium protest

Siliguri, March 2: Around 100 residents of ward 1 of Siliguri Municipal Corporation protested the setting up of another crematorium in their area this afternoon, moments after minister Gautam Deb laid the foundation of the facility.

The protesters said they had been suffering from pollution caused by the Kiran Chandra Municipal Crematorium on whose premises another one would come up.

“We are already affected by air pollution and fly ash which cover the roofs of our houses everyday. If the second crematorium comes up, the pollution level will edge up, adding to our inconvenience. No discussion was held with us before a decision was taken to establish the second crematorium,” said Dilip Jha, a resident of Rajendranagar, where the electric crematorium was located. The second facility is being set up by the north Bengal development department headed by Deb. The two-storied structure will be built at an expense of Rs 2.64 crore.

The protesters numbering around 100 were standing at the entrance to the crematorium. They didn’t have a face-off with the minister who was inside the facility. As the protest continued, his SUV was escorted out of the crematorium by police and Trinamul Congress workers.

Later, Deb told journalists that the government wouldn’t take up any project which could inconvenience people. “However, we won’t tolerate attempts by people with vested interests to jeopardise such projects. The second crematorium has been designed by experts and will not cause pollution.”