STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 2 March
Local people gheraoed north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb as he laid the foundation stone for a new electric crematorium near the existing Kiranchandra crematorium here today.
The people demanded the minister should first consider the  problems of air pollution the existing crematorium has been
causing.
The new crematorium funded by the north Bengal Development Department will be built at a cost of Rs 2.64 crore.
Locals approached the minister as he got into his car after the inauguration of the crematorium . They also closed the crematorium gate to bar  the exit of his car. 
Police later  intervened and dispersed the crowd.
"We are already facing health problems due to the smoke emanating from the crematorium and the ashes that spread around there. Another crematorium means more problems for us," a local, Santosh Sharma, said.
Mr Deb, however, said there could be a possibility of a ‘conspiracy’ and that the protest could be ‘politically motivated.’
"People may have different opinions, but the issue can be discussed.
However, the proposed crematorium will be a modern one and there will be zero pollution.
The Siliguri Municipal Corporation should look into the issue of pollution created by the existing crematorium. The protest could be a conspiracy and politically motivated one. We will build the new crematorium," Mr Deb later
 said.