Mumbai: Green crematorium at Santacruz to open by month-end

Less than two years after a senior citizens’ group took up the cause to provide better cremation facilities, the natural gas utilizing ecomoksha will be thrown open by month-end

The crematorium is ready and will be open soonThe crematorium is ready and will be open soon

This is one of the rare success stories. Less than two years after a determined lot of 150 Santacruz senior residents, upset at the civic body’s apathy in setting up the first-of-its-kind green crematorium, set off on their own, and have now managed to bring the project to its natural conclusion.

Nagin Shah with Dr Kirit Mehta and Nandan Haridas showing the asthi collection box
Nagin Shah with Dr Kirit Mehta and Nandan Haridas showing the asthi collection box

Located at the Linking Road Extension, and aptly called ecomoksha, the natural gas utilizing crematorium will finally be thrown open for service by the end of this month.

Subsequent to the coverage in mid-day, help started pouring in from all quarters as the crematorium hoped to have multi-pronged impact: provide free cremation services to people from all strata of society, all without any toxic emissions, and state-of-the-art facilities, including live video coverage with Wi-Fi to relay the final rites to the deceased’s kin based abroad.

Long road to success
It also provides for refrigerated coffins, which can be stored at home along with foldable stainless steel stretchers at highly subsidised rates.

Nagin Shah (69), who runs a retail outlet in Santacruz and is an advisor and chief coordinator for the project said the crematorium has received the final clearance from the civic body to start operations. “When we started the project, we had only Rs 50 lakh in our kitty. But we have managed to collect over Rs 2 crore, which have been utilized to equip a 5000 sq ft building, which can simultaneously accommodate 120 people and has functional Wi-Fi, CCTV cameras, and surrounded by a landscape garden. Furthermore, we are now renovating the existing traditional crematorium and its compound wall,” said Shah. He is confident that with the new crematorium, the current requirement of 1,800 trees per annum would drop drastically, if not entirely eliminated.

Futuristic, but realistic
Meanwhile, Bharat Shah (69), the architect of the project and a member of the Senior Citizens’ Club, added that though futuristic in nature, the new crematorium was based on traditional rituals like keeping the head of the body towards the north. “The family of the deceased will be able to perform all the symbolic ceremonies like using ghee and other ingredients in small quantities.”

Dr Kirit Mehta, one of the founder members of the organization, explained that they have made provisions for two furnaces with conveyor belts, and so it takes less than 40 minutes for the entire process for the ‘asthi’ (mortal remains) to be collected in a separate chamber — sans any ash — which are traditionally immersed in a holy river. “Our only regret is that we lost three of our members before the project could be completed,” he said.

Rs 2 cr
Money the group has collected over the period

Minutes for the full process till asthi collection

Current requirement of trees to run crematoriums

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