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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
Name of conflict:Electric crematorium at Siliguri, West Bengal, India
State or province:West Bengal
Location of conflict:Town-Siliguri
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 commodities:Pollution due to cremation of dead bodies
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 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 for the conflictive project$427,703 (Rs 2.64 crore)
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:10,000-15,000
Start of the conflict:2014
Company names or state enterprises:Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) from India - Finance
Siliguri Municipal Corporation from India - Executing agency
Relevant government actors:Government of West Bengal
West Bengal Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Congress Party (Darjeeling district Congress)
Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts 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
Other Health impactsRespiratory problems
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:The 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981
[click to view]

[1] Deb in assault fuss, Fir lodged
[click to view]

[2] Crematorium protest
[click to view]

[3] Locals oppose construction of new cremation furnace
[click to view]

[4] Locals gherao Gautam Deb over crematorium pollution
[click to view]

[5] Protesters cry assault by minister
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1586
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