In an apparent environment-friendly initiative, the Nimtalla crematorium in Kolkata is giving people the option of using cow dung cakes instead of wood and electric cremations.
Last month, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation approved the use of burning cow dung cakes at the crematorium. It claimed that cow dung cakes are more environment-friendly, besides holding religious significance. Thus far, over 35 families have reportedly availed of this new option, since it’s cheaper and faster than wood. Cow dung for this facility is sourced from the Calcutta Pinjrapole Society, a local non-profit set up in the late 19th century for cow protection.
Apart from promoting cow protection and providing employment to people, this option is more environment-friendly compared to wood. One has to cut two trees to cremate a body. Moreover, according to the green bench, the ashes of wood cannot be thrown into rivers since it is a polluting agent. But the ashes of cow dung cakes can be put into the river.
This isn’t the first time that a crematorium in India has offered cow dung cakes as an alternative to wood or the electric method.
The Nagpur Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra had adopted a similar practice, and in fact, its counterparts in Kolkata had sought their expertise and assistance before launching this latest alternative at the Nimtalla crematorium.
Cow dung cake-based cremation, meanwhile, takes 135 minutes and costs Rs 1,750. Each cremation reportedly requires 200 cakes of cow dung. Officials say that the crematorium hopes to reduce the time taken for dung-based cremation using ghee and camphor. The electric furnace option remains the cheapest and fastest option, taking 45 minutes and costing only Rs 250.