Electric crematorium at Siliguri, West Bengal, India


Siliguri Municipal Corporation in West Bengal had constructed an electric crematorium within the city at Ramghat near Jalpaiguri More [1]. The crematorium named as ‘Kiranchandra crematorium’ is located within the densely populated colonies of the town. The resident around the crematorium have serious objection with it.

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Basic Data
NameElectric crematorium at Siliguri, West Bengal, India
ProvinceWest Bengal
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Urban development conflicts
Specific CommoditiesPollution due to cremation of dead bodies
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe new furnace within the already existed crematorium is funded by the North Bengal Development Department of government of West Bengal. The estimated cost of the new establishment was about Rs 2.64 crore [1].
Level of Investment (in USD)$427,703 (Rs 2.64 crore)
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population10,000-15,000
Start Date2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesSiliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) from India - Finance
Siliguri Municipal Corporation from India - Executing agency
Relevant government actorsGovernment of West Bengal

West Bengal Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCongress Party (Darjeeling district Congress)

Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM)

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBoycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Waste overflow
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
OtherRespiratory problems
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNegotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesThe residents of the locality are affected by air pollution and fly ash generated from the already existed crematorium. The proposed second crematorium will add more pollution into the locality and will increase their problem. So they wanted the whole crematorium to be shifted into the other place

People had also grievances that their opinion had not been taken before a decision was taken to establish the second crematorium [2].
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.People of the area wanted the crematorium to be shifted elsewhere. They are protesting in this issue since long. While protesting during the inauguration some of the protestors were beaten up by the minister. However, the minister, denied the allegation as baseless and political conspiracy against the development[5]. According to the protestors minister should not act so sharply to the agitators rather he should invite local people for a dialog for an amicable solution for the problem. Earlier, the Minister had assured that the electric crematorium will not lead to pollution as it will not generate fly ash. However, people are skeptical about the assurance [1].
Sources and Materials

The air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981
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[2] Crematorium protest
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[3] Locals oppose construction of new cremation furnace
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[5] Protesters cry assault by minister
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[4] Locals gherao Gautam Deb over crematorium pollution
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[1] Deb in assault fuss, Fir lodged
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Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/10/2014