Nigambodh Ghat crematorium pulled up for charging 'exorbitant amounts illegally'

Nigambodh Ghat crematorium pulled up for charging 'exorbitant amounts illegally'

New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) One of the oldest crematoriums in Delhi-NCR, Nigambodh Ghat located on the banks of the Yamuna river at Kashmiri Gate, has been found charging exorbitant amounts for a speedy cremation and the firewood for funeral pyres, an official aware of the development said on Thursday.

Mayor Shelly Oberoi has ordered an inquiry into this and asked for a report from officials.

The matter came to light during an inspection of the ghat by the mayor on Thursday.

According to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) official, several NGOs were found charging a hefty amount from the family members of the deceased in the name of last rites, violating the provisions of the memorandum of understanding that governs its functioning.

The mayor held a meeting with health department officials and the managing committee of the Nigambodh Ghat to discuss the illegal activities taking place under the MCD's nose, the official said.

'The crematorium was found charging extra fees, as high as Rs 50,000, for a VIP cremation and fast services. A wood-cutting machine was also found installed at the cremation ground against rules,' he added.

The official said wood from peepal trees is being used for cremation for an additional amount of money.

'An additional amount of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 is charged for the wood used in the funerals,' he said.

The MCD charges Rs 7 per kg for the wood to be used in pyres, the official said, adding that the civic body does not levy any charge for cremation and has not given any permission for such activities.

Furthermore, name plates of the deceased are being installed illegally by taking up to Rs 5 lakh at the ghat, the official said.

The mayor has directed the officials concerned to rationalise the rates related to last rites at the cremation ground.

The MCD only allows to take money for wood, puja material and a pandit. The rates are fixed by the MoU. PTI SJJ RC

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