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JAPAN BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION (2003-2004)
Research study on crematoria

The Foundation completed a unique research study on assessment of constraints for promotion of apparently ‘environment friendly’ crematoria which were set up under the Yamuna Action Plan. These structures were set up to control the practice of disposal of dead bodies in to the river and also to conserve wood resources, however they have not been accepted by the society at large due to a number of socio-religious factors. The study cut across religious, technological, social (customs and traditions) and environmental aspects and found that the implementation was devoid of subtleness required to take care of the sensivities of the communities to which it was intended to serve. It was found to be a purely technical intervention and did not establish relationships with local stakeholders, business community etc. which are otherwise exhorted in the scriptures to discharge their social obligation towards the poor sections of the society. At a fundamental level the 'improved wood' and 'electric' crematoria were found to be neither 'environment friendly' nor complying with customs of the society at large. The study came to the conclusion that public sponsored initiative in such a sensitive social matter are not advised, instead they should be carried out by facilitating and strengthening the civil society organisations as has been successfully demonstrated in cities like Rajkot, Jamnagar, Mathura, etc., where the cremation grounds have been aesthetically designed and provided with all basic amenities (we call them five star last resorts !!). Based on the findings of this study, JBIC decided to exclude this particular component from the scope of second phase of the project.

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