The first electric crematorium in the Hills is likely to begin operations in Kalimpong within a few days, with the Kalimpong Municipality there targeting to operate it by 20 May. The crematorium will also be allowing people to cremate patients dying after contracting Covid-19, and will prove to be helpful to family members during these tough times.

“We thank the Bengal chief minister for sanctioning funds for the electric crematorium. We had given the project to the PWD for execution and it is ready. It has been handed back to us for operations. A lot of problems are being faced by people here in regards to cremation and once this starts functioning it will prove to be helpful to all concerned, especially looking at the Covid-related deaths at present,” Municipality Chairman Ravi Pradhan said.

According to Mr Pradhan, they have handed over the project to be run by an agency based in Kolakata in agreement under the Annual Maintenance Control (AMC), as expert hands are needed to operate it.

“Due to some personal reasons, the person who will operate it has not been able to come here. But once he reaches here, the crematorium will be functional. We have set a target of the 20th of this month to start the operations,” he said, adding that minimal charges will be taken for the cremation of normal deaths, while it will be free of charge for Covid-related deaths.

The civic body head also said that the project at Bhalukhop was constructed at a cost of Rs 3 crore, out of which the structure cost around Rs 2.5 crore and the remaining was the cost of electricity.