Published On : Sat, Oct 12th, 2013

K-Oil used for last rites at Crematoriums

Wood left out in the open makes igniting difficult


Nagpur News: To begin with, the contract given by NMC clearly states that only dry fire wood should be supplied for burning funeral pyre. Which somehow is never ascertained? At least 25 per cent of the wood is green and not fit for burning. NMC has also made sheds huge enough to host two trucks which can be made to stand one above the other.

After the contractor dumps the fire-wood, it is duty of the official present at the office of the ghat to ensure that all the fire wood is shifted inside the shed. They don’t seem to be doing this for best reasons known only to them.

During rains or the monsoon season, the entire wood, which is lying outside get fully drenched and wet. If someone comes to burn the funeral pyre during this season, he is issued 7.5 mann equivalent to 40 kgs. This wet wood doesn’t catch fire in the first place. After emanating smoke for a long time, if the wood does catch fire, it takes very long time to burn the dead body. To ensure smooth burning, the relatives have to use a lot of Raal (Sulphur), Keroscene (Which they have to procure in black since it is rationed), or diesel (which is very costly). Most devout Hindus prefer to burn the dead on a funeral pyre instead of the diesel incinerator. In such a condition, the wet wood causes a lot of smoke to emanate and a long time to burn.

Corporator Parinak Fuke said that this is certainly carelessness on the part of the official at the crematorium. He should have ensured that all the wood is shifted inside the shed. Had he requisitioned labour or even a bulldozer to move the wood, I would have definitely made arrangements for the same.


Additional Municipal Commissioner  Hemant and Head of the department of Health, NMC, Dr Milind Ganvir were not available for comment, however, his deputy Dr Ashok Urkude said that the erring official at the crematorium will be immediately take to task and corrective steps will be immediately taken to ensure the moving of the wood inside the shed. However this never took place even after a week’s time even after the assurances given by Corporator Parinay Fuke and Dr Urkude.

Former Mayor Vikas Thakre said that this issue certainly needs attention of NMC officials. He also pointed out so many other discrepancies right from the quality and quantity of wood supplied, discrepancies in the record of the quantity of wood burnt etc. He has assured to take up the issue in the next meeting of NMC officials.

On October 10, 2013, the relatives of Radiologist of Daga Hospital, Dr Sunil Mishra had gone to perform the last rites at Ambazhari Crematorium. They found the wood to be so wet that they had to use 3 kgs of ghee, 2 kgs of Raal (Sulpher), 500 grams  of Camphor (Kapoor). So much so that they had to buy Cow dung cakes (Gobri) worth Rs 900 for burning, since they do not want to use keroscene.  What would otherwise take only 30 minutes to 45 minutes to catch fire took nearly 2.5 hours to ignite.

They said that the relatives of Nithnaware who were trying to ignite the funeral pyre at the next platform had used 10 litres of keroscene, 5 kgs of raal to ignite the funeral pyre. They alleged that the officials are nonchalant and were not bothered at all about the agony and pain endured by the relatives in trying to ignite the fire. These relatives also found a lot of unburnt wood lying near the platforms.


Item Particulars During Summer During Monsoon
Phosphorus (Raal) 0.5 to 2 kgs 3-5 kgs
Ghee 250 gms to 0.5 kgs 5 kgs
Kerosene 1 litre 10 litres
Camphor (Kapoor) 0.5  to 1 kg 2-3 kgs


The scenario is very much the same even in Mokshadam.

Many people on condition of anonimity said that they too have experienced the same at Mokshadham Crematorium. But being helpless, they can’t do anything but spend more and undergo a harrowing time in trying to accord a decent funeral to their dead.

India is the only country in which, even traffic stops voluntarily for the funeral procession out of deference for the dead. Can’t the dead be accorded a decent funeral pyre in the city? Who is to blame for such carelessness?

 Samuel Gunasekharan