The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government and municipal authorities in Aurangabad to make an appeal to industrialists and local corporates to donate and help construct electric and LPG crematoriums in the district.
When told about high cost involved in constructing LPG /electric crematoriums, the Aurangabad bench of the HC cited the example of Israel, saying the West Asian country bought the COVID-19 vaccine at more than the market cost to inoculate its citizens and save on losses from a nationwide lockdown.
The HC said the authorities must make an appeal to key industrial sectors in Aurangabad to make donations as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spendings to help build crematoriums. The direction, from a bench comprising Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Bhalchandra Debadwar, came after the court was informed that at present Aurangabad district did not have a single electric or LPG crematorium.
The central Maharashtra district in the Marathwada region is also an industrial hub. The bench was hearing a suo moto (on its own) PIL initiated on the basis of several news reports, to address issues such as compulsory wearing of face masks, proper funeral rites of COVID-19 patients, shortage of medical oxygen supply and black-marketing of Remdesivir, among other things.
Public prosecutor DR Kale told the HC that electric or LPG crematoriums were expensive to construct and maintain as they needed regular power supply and a certain temperature needed to be maintained at all times. Kale said people were using wood for funeral pyres. This prompted the court to say that the current situation would result in indiscriminate tree felling and destruction of the environment.
“Take a leaf out of Israel’s book. It paid 30 dollars instead of 15 for each vaccine dose to ensure it got enough stock. It vaccinated over 90 per cent of its population and managed to save manifold by avoiding a nationwide lockdown,” the HC said. “And here we are told that electric crematoriums are expensive. They are the most cost effective in the long run,” the judges said. The HC noted that LPG crematoriums were comparatively more cost effective.